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what is a qr code

What is a QR Code

A QR code is a type of barcode that was originally created to track vehicle parts.
It's a black and white square with a pattern of squares on it, which can be read by smart phones with built-in cameras.

When you scan the QR code with your device, it will cross-reference the code with data stored online such as text, email address, phone number, location address and video.
The information is then read aloud or displayed on your screen for easy access. You can also save scanned information to contacts or visit the associated website URL that is stored in the code automatically.

There are so many different uses for this technology, from simple one-step links to complex geo-tagging systems and multilayered information that's worth its weight in gold. Even if you're just curious about them, there is ample opportunity for research on QR codes — what they are and how they work — so that by the time you've read this article, you'll have enough information to make your own decisions on how to use them.

QR code usage increasing in popularity. How far it will develop into a useful marketing tool is anyone's guess. However, from the many real-life examples in existence today — from consumer products to clothing ads, from on-screen TV ads to billboards — it's clear that this technology has found a niche and is making strides in becoming a viable solution for advertisers everywhere.

What is the purpose behind QR codes?

The QR code was designed to be a universal, machine-readable and scannable code. These are used for many purposes with the most popular one being for mobile marketing.

Simply speaking, a QR code is two-dimensional barcode that contains information about a product or service and can be used by mobile devices like cell phones and smartphones as you read this article.

In essence, it's like an internet address with this difference: instead of typing in a URL and going to the site that way, you scan or snap the website address with your device's camera module (usually found on the back of your phone) and be taken directly to that website or page.

Just like a URL, the QR code is composed of several sections or modules — each module or block contains a number value and each of the modules are connected to each other like bricks in a wall. When read by cameras, the information in the modules will usually be decoded and displayed on your mobile device's screen.

What can QR codes be used for?

The uses are virtually limitless… There are at least 35 different ways to use QR codes in business alone.

qr code menu

You may have seen these black and white squares printed on advertisements in magazines, on billboards along the highway and even on TV commercial spots. These grab your attention when you see them because it's an unusual thing to see; there aren't too many people walking around taking pictures of billboards with their mobile phones.
QR codes can be used not only for mobile marketing but to track your vehicle's parts, for instance. Other uses may include:

  • Online shopping – When you see a product in a magazine or on television, or perhaps see it somewhere in the real world and want to order it online, you can scan the QR code on the ad with your phone, and that will take you directly to the website of that product.
  • For crypto payments - you can share your Bitcoin or Etherium wallet with someone to receive crypto payments. Many crypto exchanges and decetralized crypto storage apps like Metamask or Trust Wallet already allow you to automatically generate a QR code for your crypto wallets. But crypto QR code generator can do that same if your favorite app is missing this functionality.
  • To connect to Wi-Fi networks - you can scan a QR code and quickly connect to a local Wi-Fi network without having to enter any credentials.
  • Geo-tagging images – Photography enthusiasts often use this technology to geo-tag their photos; they want to know where they're taken so they can save them locally on their phone's hard drive.
  • Product tracking – In this instance, there are several options. You can use a geolocation app to take you right to your product and automatically add the information. Or you can create a QR code that takes you to your products on an online shopping site, or add it to a banner ad so it is visible and discoverable by everyone who sees the ad in real life.
  • Membership/membership services – Using QR codes as part of a membership process is not always new; credit cards have used it for years to verify that you are the cardholder when they're swiped at point-of-sale terminals in stores.
  • Product installation – Many manufacturers will include QR codes on the packaging of specific products with the intent that you scan it with your phone to install it.
  • Promotion/marketing campaigns – This is a more in-depth use of QR codes—and one that is very common in the print world. For example, a magazine or newspaper may run an ad promoting a local business by placing a QR code on their commercial spot.
  • Sales notices – You may see these ads in stores or on television and wonder "What kind of product do they want me to buy?" Scanning it will take you straight to the website for that company.
  • Features/information – You may see a QR code on the side of a car's cab and think "What does this mean?" Scanning it will take you all the way to additional information about your car, including its make, model, year and more.
  • Videos – Internet videos are often encoded with QR codes that can be used to link to related websites. You can copy the link to the video and generate QR from a video link.
  • Marketing opportunities on social media sites—This is an example of geo-tagging via QR codes for marketing purposes. If you post a picture with your location tag in it, people can search your profile by using their social media network and find out where you are when they look at your picture.
  • Geo-tagging – One example of where this technology is used geo-tagging.
  • Similar to membership – This is similar to the marketing idea above, but this one allows you to use the code on a product and take advantage of special offers or discounts.
  • Loyalty cards – In this case, you're using your phone's camera as an ID card.
  • Business cards – In this case, you're using your phone's camera as a business card.
  • Tourist brochures and information – This is an interesting use of QR codes for tourism purposes.
  • To drive people to your social media profile – The QR code can be included in the profile picture or as part of the description.
  • To drive people to your Twitter account/blog – You can add an affiliate link in your account and then include a QR code that links to your Twitter handle or blog address.
  • To drive people to more information about you – If you have any public appearances, for example, you can use this technology to direct fans and visitors straight to your website where they can find out more about you on your official website and other social media profiles.
  • To give out coupons and discount codes—You may see them in magazines and on billboards or TV commercials.
  • To connect with you via WhatsApp - You may add a QR code to a business card and prompt people to connect wtih you directly via the WhatsApp app.

The number of applications is countless. The best part is that you can have full control of where your potential customers get redirected after scanning the QR code with Dynamic QR codes.

You may also keep track of all analytics data from QR code scans, which will show you:

  • How many times was the QR code scanned
  • What device scanned the QR code
  • In which countly was the QR code scanned etc.
qr-code-analytics provides you with all of these options and 50 more. Check out our paid plans for that and sign up for a 3-day trial to see if we are the right choice for you.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.