QR codes vs Short Keyword Searching
QR codes are widely adopted for advertising purposes, especially in Europe, China and their motherland – Japan. But in 2011 Jim Hamilton described something quite surprising on his blog about Tokyo during his visit there – Quick Responsive codes have slowly began to disappear from the surroundings of the Japanese capital. Some claim that the 2D matrix barcodes are no longer as dominant as they used to be and will soon completely vanish from the marketing stage.
Although QR codes have taken the world and the advertising business by storm, nowadays, with the great advancements in the mobile and internet technologies, a new tendency is gaining speed – fast short keyword searching. Surely, with the new unprecedentedly fast mobile 4G connections and new smartphone models, most of which allow voice search, it might turn out that looking up something over the internet is faster than scanning a QR code for getting the same information. So what will it be – QR codes or Hashtags – we are only about to see (Tweeterers will know).
Part of the advertisers might bet on the fact that a few short and relevant keyword, placed on their poster or billboard will look more appealing and attractive to the user than an edgy, black-and-white QR code. However thanks to the error-correction algorithm there are numerous QR customization techniques that allow the producers to “beautify” their code, brand it and still make it relevant to the content the user will get after a scan. Moreover the short keyword search strategy is quite restrictive for the advertisers as all they can tell the user is with what keywords to browse the web through Google, Bing or other search engine. Whereas QR codes can encode not only URLs and search queries but contact details, sms/dialing-up commands, Foursquare venue checking-in and even small-sized pictures.
Even though short-keyword searching might seem easy for the customer, for the advertisers it will be a real race to the top. Ranking high for particular keywords, if they are not specifically connected with a brand name or model, is a really hard and dreadful task. There are two options – either pay for a service like Google AdWords and get higher in the results for particular short keywords or don’t pay anything and target the so called long-tail keywords which are said to be more relevant and easy to rank for. However targeting them would be controversial to the main concept of the short keyword advertisement. Now you are probably starting to appreciate the true advantage of the QR codes over the short keyword searches – you don’t have to rank for anything or race anybody – just encode you information properly and let the users scan. Furthermore you can easily find a free QR code generator like our QREncoder which will do a perfect job.
We might have witnessed a great advancement in the IT sector for the last few years but the time when the “Hashtag” will outweigh the QR code still hasn’t come. In addition the latest smartphones and tablets have very detailed cameras that can read really dense QR codes, and denser QR codes mean more information encoded and eventually distributed to the customer.