Last month, users saw QR codes reach new heights… literally. A drone show along the waterfront in Shanghai ended in a jarring grand finale as the drones lined up to form a bright, scannable QR code in the sky. The image, which quickly went viral, linked to a homepage for consumers to download a new video game.
The stunt had users worldwide both in awe and uneasy. Does it cross a line? Is it ethical to display ads in the sky? Where will QR codes continue to lead?
While questions still need answers, it did get us thinking about the ways QR codes continue to pioneer new opportunities. As advertisers and consumers continue to leverage the tool, keep these trends in mind:
QR codes are still gaining popularity. What was introduced as a hands-free solution during the pandemic is still sticking around, and increasing. Statista reports 89 million smartphone users in the United States scanned a QR code in 2022, up from 70.6 million in 2020. And that number is projected to reach upwards of 100 million by 2025.
Creativity is on the rise. From 2022’s groundbreaking QR code ad during the Big Game to 2023’s skyward QR codes, we can no doubt expect continued creativity surrounding QR code use in months to come.
Brands have a responsibility for safety. QR codes aren’t always a solution. Advertisers and brands should be wary of using QR codes on billboards (promoting cellphone use while driving) or in other potentially dangerous scenarios.
Scams are a growing concern. Some QR code scams use authentic-looking codes to lead consumers to fraudulent sites. Others paste fake QR codes over the correct links to try and steal a user’s personal or financial information. To skirt the issue, free apps are hitting the market to help detect the authenticity and safety of QR codes before they’re scanned in. As cybersecurity scams continue to rise, safety should, too.
Our team continues to keep an eye out (and up) for what’s next in advertising innovation. To follow along with it all, follow our Brogan blog. Sign up for updates to have insight delivered right to you.