Linking Mobile is attempting to use transactional QR codes to take the affiliate model to offline marketing channels.

The codes have been printed onto 100,000 leaflets advertising the Accident Advice Helpline (AAH), which have been distributed across London by promotions company Double Bubble.

Rather than paying up front for cost of printing the hand-outs, AAH will be charged using a cost per acquisition (CPA) model, and Double Bubble with also be paid per registration.

In this case, the ‘acquisition’ is based on how many customers fill out a form after being directed to a mobile site via the QR code.

The codes also track the entire process regardless of which app is used, so there’s no need to download a specific tool.

David Fieldhouse, CMO at Mobile Future Group, parent company of Linking Mobile, said that this allows non-digital marketers to participate in affiliate marketing.

It allows media owners to monetise areas in print that they couldn’t previously. If the results are good and consumers scan the QR codes then it is a new digital revenue stream for print advertisers.”

The results of the trial are still being counted as the leaflets are still being handed out (and will be for the rest of March), and Fieldhouse said that at this stage it is testing to see if the concept works.

However, the company is “talking to national publishers” about using the affiliate QR codes.

If it works with this drop of 100,000, then there would be a huge opportunity for national publications that reach 4m people a day.”

The adoption of a CPA payment model for print advertising is an interesting move, but is unlikely to drive huge numbers of traffic in the short term. Especially since the leaflets are only being posted through people’s doors – where it’s easier to sit down at your computer to visit a website directly than get out your phone to scan a QR code. 

campaign in the Metro that linked back to the newspaper’s homepage achieved 17,000 scans in two and a half months, while a Boots campaign achieved 11,000 scans from people that wanted to find out more about a new skin cream.

It’s hard to give a definitive answer on whether these statistics represent a successful trial as we have little to benchmark against, but considering the number of people who flick through the Metro every morning on the tube – it seems relatively low.

The newspaper industry does need to find a way of boosting its ad revenue though, so will probably be pleased to see that ad networks are attempting to innovate. Though we’re reminded of Glamour magazine’s use of SnapTags, which saw over 500,000 interactions.

And while the results of the trial won’t be made public, we’ll get an idea of its success if similar programmes start to appear in national press.