Top 5 Tips for Planning a QR Campaign

Posted by: Nicholas M. Roberts

Thinking about using a QR code for your next marketing campaign? Don’t travel blindly into the abyss. There are a handful of factors to consider beforehand. Think about:

  • What the QR code should look like,
  • What you’re going to connect consumers to when they scan your QR code, and of course
  • Where the QR code(s) is/are going to be located.

To get you started, I have compiled what I have found to be the top five tips for planning a QR campaign. I will not tell you where to put the codes; that is for you to decide. But the tips should guide you once that step has been completed.

  1. It is easier to gather usage stats if you use a URL shortener. You likely see these all the time if you use Twitter – instead of a full hyperlink such as, your URL will look more along the lines of this: To create a shortened URL, you can use one of many conversion websites including Bitly, Tiny URL (the one I used above) and Google URL Shortener.

  2. QR codes can use color. In fact, color makes them more noticeable and certainly more marketable (see […but Who is Using Them Right]). Unfortunately, just because a person can see them doesn’t mean their QR code reader can. There needs to be contrast – that is why black and white is such a successful combination. When unsure, pick the most contrasting color options possible.

  3. Don’t link your code to a page that requires a login. It’s not that smartphones are incapable of handling this task; it’s just tedious and annoying for the consumer – even if you tell them what information to input. While QR codes are fun because they are somewhat mysterious and cryptic, the puzzle should stop when the code is processed.

  4. Consider the location of your audience. Not geographically, but literally where the consumers will be in relationship to your QR code. If it is going to be far away from the person most likely to scan it, or if it’s up high, you need to make sure the QR code is larger. Billboard advertisements are expensive and it would be a shame if you displayed a QR code that passersby couldn’t scan. Likewise, a poster in a retail outlet or movie theater should be closer to the size of a human face. If it’s coming to them in the mail, a smaller code that only spans one or two inches would be adequate. For more on QR code size and proximity, consult this Bar Code Blog entry from Glenn Spitz.

  5. Along with the previous tip, think about lighting whenever possible. Where is the primary light source in the room where your QR code is displayed? If the consumer has to stand directly between the light source and the code, it will create a shadow and the code will be more difficult to scan. Likewise, if the code isn’t lit up at all, it will be tough both to scan and to catch the attention of passersby.