For example, a Japanese newspaper has already launched an augmented reality app that allows young children to scan specially-marked articles with a smartphone to get access to a more kid-friendly, simplified adaptation of the story, along with pictures and explanations to help them understand the content.
For example, advertisers could use the code to link readers of a gaming magazine to a free demo of a game mentioned in one of the magazine’s articles. All a person would have to do is place a smartphone or tablet on top of the article and wait for the demo to appear on the screen. The technology could also be used to show visual demonstrations of products in a catalog, give out coupons and special event tickets, or even allow consumers to “try on” clothes in an virtual fitting room.
While QR codes did have a few very successful campaigns, they were often too difficult to access from the locations in which they were placed. They frequently ended up on billboards, or worse yet, license plates, which made it practically impossible to scan the code successfully. Plus, marketers didn’t do a good job of explaining how to use the codes to begin with, leading many potential consumers to simply ignore the codes entirely.
The good news is, we can learn a lot from the failures of QR Codes:
- For one, the technology needs to be easy to use. Consumers don’t want to waste time trying to figure out a complicated app. It should be self-explanatory and obvious.
- If the app is not completely self-explanatory, then marketers need to explain how to use the app in a very clear, simple manner. If it can’t be explained simply, it’s probably too complicated.
- Make sure you place the technology on media in areas where cell phone service is sure to be available. The app is worthless if consumers can’t access it. Subway tunnels and other obstructed areas tend to have block or lower service.
- Only place the apps in locations where using it makes sense. People probably won’t be interested in scanning the table to play a branded game at a fancy restaurant on date night, but they might be interested at a McDonalds when they’re looking for a way to occupy their hyper kids.
The point is, these new technologies are bubbling over with potential, but now it’s up to agencies to learn from past mistakes and use them more carefully this time around. If done in a smart, creative way, these apps could stick around for a long time.