Study: Use of QR, Other Mobile Codes on Rise

ARLINGTON, MA—QR codes, digital watermarks, image recognition and other types of mobile action codes printed in the top 100 U.S. magazines reached a record number in the second quarter, according to a new study by mobile marketing and technology services company, Nellymoser Inc.

A total of 2,200 codes were printed during the quarter, up from 1,365 in the previous quarter (61 percent growth). More than 10 percent of advertisements contained a code, which was double the 5 percent rate from just one year ago.

For its latest mobile action code study, Nellymoser surveyed the top 100 U.S. magazines by circulation and analyzed the published issues from April to June 2012, covering 46,132 magazine pages. Findings were significant in many areas, including:

• From Q1 to Q2, the number of codes printed in the top 100 magazines grew from 1,365 to 2,200, a 61 percent increase.

• 10.1 percent of magazine ad pages contained a code in Q2, up from 5 percent of ad pages in Q2 2011.

• The number of brands that have adopted mobile action codes jumped to 598 in Q2, up from 451 in Q1—a 33 percent increase.

• For the first time, every magazine in the study contained at least one code.

• QR codes continue to be the clear action code market leader, maintaining more than an 80 percent market share since December 2011.

“Mobile activation has really taken hold in magazine advertising. Nearly 600 brands and every one of the top magazines have embraced print-to-mobile as a core marketing strategy,” said Roger Matus, executive vice president of Nellymoser and co-author of the Nellymoser study. “Action codes bring print pages to life and engage readers in ways that can’t be duplicated with a static ad. Based on what we’re seeing in our research, we anticipate more than 1,000 codes per month will run in the top 100 magazines starting in September 2012.”

Nearly half of all action codes in Q2 (49 percent) came from companies in four industries: beauty, home, health and automotive. There was a significant jump in the use of codes by the automotive industry, from 81 codes in Q1 2012 to 195 codes in Q2.

QR codes continued to dominate the mobile activation market in Q2, with more than an 80 percent share. Microsoft Tag had a 14 percent market share. All other types of codes combined had less than a 10 percent market share. Digimarc watermarks now lead the “Other” category, having risen from just five codes in all of 2011 to 96 codes in the first half of 2012.

Video was the most common action code use with 40 percent of codes leading to some type of video experience such as a product demo, behind-the-scenes look or entertaining clip. This represents a slight increase over Q1 when 35 percent led to a video.Sweepstakes (for list building and opt-ins) and social media sharing via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, were also popular with about 20 percent of action code experiences leading to these types of engagements. These numbers have stayed steady from Q1.

— Printing Impressions  8-31-12