Understanding QR Codes & Mobile App Marketing

Posted by Matt Milloway on Jun 02, 2015

Many companies and organizations investing in a mobile app are rightly concerned about getting the technology into the hands of their audience. Without easy methods to download the app and maximizing its usage, everyone loses—from event planners or sales teams to end users expecting an easy and efficient means to access content. Learn how utilizing QR codes in conjunction with a mobile app download simplifies the process for everyone involved.

Understanding QR Codes

A Quick Response Code—more popularly known as a QR Code—is a matrix-style barcode typically found on marketing materials, store signage, and even business cards. The barcode is a series of square dots (also known as modules) that are read by an imaging device—typically a camera for the purposes of smartphone and tablet users. The barcode is then processed by 3rd-party apps meant to read QR Codes or as part of any other app with the appropriate functionality in place. Most QR Codes lead to a website, video, or social media and allow mobile device users to more easily access urls without tediously entering characters, thus incentivizing users to engage in content.  

Creating a QR Code

Many people assume generating QR Codes takes special software. Luckily, a number of free websites offer tools to generate the barcode in a matter of minutes and some even offer options to change the color and look. QR Stuff and QR Code Generator are straightforward and free options, while Unitag may also warrant a look for those needing additional options like overlaying a logo on top of the code or tracking visit statistics for a reasonable yearly cost. The process simply takes pasting a website url or other link (e.g. YouTube) into a field, selecting a few options, and clicking button to generate the bar code. The finished product may be downloaded as an image file to be placed into marketing materials and so forth.

QR Codes & Mobile Apps

The best option to pair a url with a QR Code for mobile app marketing is to create a branded landing page with download links to the App Store and Google Play, as well as any links to other access options like the .apk file or HTML5 mobile website. Many mobile app developers work with clients to create a branded landing page (e.g. yourapp.com) that recognizes the device type of the user and immediately takes him or her to the appropriate storefront for downloading the app. In this instance, yourapp.com is associated with the QR Code, so users using the code enjoy immediate access to the app download without needing to type in a url or keywords in the app stores. 

Other options include taking users to a branded web page on the existing company’s site (e.g. company.com/appname) with applicable download links and other relevant info. In both cases, mobile device users can simply scan the QR Code on posters, handouts, and other marketing material to download the app.

Other Tips

Creating signage and other material with QR Codes is a great first step to ensure more people are able to access a mobile app. For mobile apps primarily marketing and used at events, store fronts, or other high traffic areas with plenty of engaged users, it’s also important to ensure users have access to reliable WiFi. Consider implementing a cheap mobile hotspot at or near designated areas with an “app expert” nearby. Attendees, potential customers, or other targeted groups of people can scan the code and quickly download the app while connected to the hotspot, while also asking any applicable questions about the app at the same time to make sure they get the most out of their experience.


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