If there was a national league for mobile tagging formats, then the 2011 Champion of the National League for Mobile Tags was… QR Codes.
At the start of last year, we were still posting about which mobile tag format would win the market share race in the US. Now, we can clearly see the trend line showing that QR codes are the winner in the race against Microsoft Tag, Spyderlynk SnapTag, and JagTag.
Nellymoser (a mobile marketing company), released a study in which they reviewed all 2011 issues of the top 100 US Magazines, surveying the use of Mobile Tagging.
They found that…
- QR codes accounted for 61% of all codes used in the first quarter, growing to 72% in the fourth quarter of 2011.
- Microsoft Tags lost share, falling from 39% of all codes in Q1 to 25% in Q4.
- All other tags accounted for only 1% each in the last quarter.
That’s a huge win for QR Codes. Nellymoser didn’t share any datapoints which help explain why QR Codes have streaked ahead of the competitors. From our perspective, it is the free and open nature of the QR Code standard which makes it the most compelling tag format. And now, as it has achieved a critical mass in awareness, it will be difficult for anything else to challenge it in the near term.
Some other interesting things they found in the study were:
- Advertising (not editorial) drove the 439% increase in mobile codes from January through December. In January, there were seven advertising codes for each editorial code. By September, the ratio was nearly 25:1.
- SMS calls to action were a useful compliment to QR Codes when smartphones had lower adoption and QR Codes had low awareness. The study showed that most brands and advertisers were beyond this fear, with only 3% of ads including an SMS CTA as well.
- More advertisers (70% in the survey) are now implementing best practices by including information about what happens after you scan the code.
- There is evidence of a general move away from the practice of customizing the QR code visuals. Customized designs can reduce the effective scan rate in some circumstances.
I would pose it that the war for market share and mind share between the mobile tagging/code standards have been won. QR Codes are the clear winner and now we can all move our focus onto best practices in implementation, management and analytics.
- Steen Andersson, Co-Founder & VP