Mobile tags (also known as 2D barcodes) are stepping out into the spotlight as the new way to engage customers. What looks like an optical illusion is actually a barcode that is designed to attract the attention of customers, inviting them to try, discover, share, save, and interact with brands. These tags are apart of a new concept in marketing called mobile marketing.
There are two types of mobile tags: QR codes and MS tags:
A QR (quick response) code is a matrix barcode that consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. These codes were created in Japan and used for tracking vehicle manufacturing. Now these codes are used in applications such as commercial tracking and convenience-oriented functions aimed at mobile users. The intention of this code is to allow its contents to be decoded at a high speed.
A MS (Microsoft) tag was created by Microsoft and features small, brightly colored triangles in geometric patterns. These tags were designed to work with the capabilities of a typical camera phone. MS tags can connect almost anything in the real world such as information, entertainment, and interactive experiences using a mobile phone.
So how do these tags work you ask? These codes can be found on products, posters, ads, packages, boxes, the list is endless. Using a mobile phone, download the application to read tags. When you see a tag, using the read tags application, point your camera at the tag, and within seconds the information will be unveiled. The tags are filled with encoded information and links, that when scanned by a mobile device, it is revealed to the customer. Tags can be linked to whatever the business wants a customer to know. Whether its their homepage, other related links, or a site specifically made for the tag, the capabilities of what these tags can do is limitless.
Why use these tags? The usage of smartphones are growing exponentially. 285 million Americans are mobile subscribers, which is 91% of the population. By integrating mobile usage and marketing, mobile marketing is becoming a great way for marketers to increase brand engagement and meet customer needs and expectations. Tags are able to be fully customizable to fit the individual needs of businesses. They also provide the ability to:
- integrate print advertising with mobile devices
- manage customer experience
- measure campaign effectiveness
- maintain brand identity
- maximize information delivered
These tags allow offline pieces to connect with online experiences. The ability for marketers to customize these tags result in personalized interactions with customers via a mobile device. Mobile marketing will continue to grow as mobile usage does. Keep your eyes peeled for these tags and remember its not an optical illusion.