Tracking Advertising ROI with QR Codes

Posted by Jessica Hough on 03/06/2012

One of our OKC web design clients called us with a QR code question. This particular client markets their website business through print advertising. They wanted to include a QR marketing code to 'push' people to a certain section of their website. The client asked how they can track visits coming to their website through their QR code.

What's a QR Code?

A QR code (or quick response code) is a two-dimensional square barcode. That's it. A square shape is filled with graphics that contain data. The data can be interpreted by a "QR code reader." In many cases, it's a device like a smart phone. Once the smart phone processes the QR code, it's directed to take an action. In many applications, the code opens a URL in the smart phone's browser and displays the corresponding web page. See the example below of a QR code used in print advertising.

How to track QR Code ROI for print advertising

How do I track QR Code Usage?

As long as you have a program like Google Analytics, it's as simple as adding a bit of text called a query string to the end of your URL. Query strings are used by web pages to perform functions. You see them all the time. Here's an example of a URL with a query string:

http://back40design.com?thisisaquerystring

The query string is highlighted in bold in the above URL

Let's do this

To create a QR code, locate a QR code generator (more about that). Be sure to enter your target URL and your unique query string identifier into the generator. Remember, by adding the query string, you will be able to easily 'track' the usage of this targeted web page.

After your QR code has been published and you'd like to gauge the effectiveness of the promotion, go to your web browser and open your Google Analytics. In your Google Analytics account, you can filter your landing pages by that query string (ex: ?thisisaquerystring). Click "Content" > "Site Content" > "Pages." On the right above "Avg. Time on Page" there should be a search feature. That's where you can filter your results by specific pages. Simply input your targeted query string and search. The results will give you a clear idea of how your QR code marketing is being utilized.