The OOH Media Guide to QR Codes

The OOH Media Guide to QR codes

QR code use is now ubiquitous; here's how to use them in OOH media.

March 3, 2022

When the world went largely contactless over the pandemic, quick response (QR) codes became a trend in restaurant menus, Venmo profiles for simple touchless transactions and more.

But QR codes aren’t limited to telling diners the daily special at their favorite restaurant — and they’re not going away anytime soon.

Out of home (OOH) QR codes provide a unique opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in a timed and tailored way. Companies can appeal to customers with a personalized approach based on location, timing and more.

Here’s what brands need to know to use location-based, mobile-first messaging to connect with the right consumers at the right time.

How QR Codes Are Used in OOH Settings

According to Pew Research, 97% of adults own a cell phone — and 85% own a smartphone. For brands, a QR code is the gateway to connecting to that majority of consumers and appealing to them with personalized messaging.

In out of home (OOH) advertising, brands can use QR codes outside of a consumer’s home to effectively connect with consumers.

QR codes in OOH settings empower brands to personalize their approach to consumers. In digital applications, the delivery can even be timed to when consumers are most likely to notice and engage with the ads.

QR Codes in OOH Applications

Just a few ways QR codes can be used in advertising in OOH settings include:

  • Print and digital billboards, DOOH networks, posters, subway and transit shelter ads
  • Product packaging and clothing tags
  • Store window displays, wild posters and hand-painted murals
  • Flyers, coffee cup sleeves and door hangers

When a consumer sees one of these QR codes, they can scan it with their phone and become immersed in a personalized mobile experience.

Brands are empowered to tailor these messages based on location. A consumer scanning a QR code in a subway ad during their morning commute may see different messaging than scanning a QR code billboard while sitting at a traffic light during their weekend errand run.

In addition to appealing to consumers with personalized ads based on location, brands can also update the content in the experiences linked to the QR code — making it a more relevant and sustainable advertising model.

Curious about how to effectively create a QR code? Check out Blue Bite’s Guide to QR Code Design Best Practices.

The Rapid Growth of the OOH Industry

The OOH industry has skyrocketed in recent years — and that growth isn’t expected to slow anytime soon.

The OOH advertising market is expected to jump from $25.61 billion in 2021 to $28.48 billion in 2022, according to the Out-of-Home Advertising Global Market Report 2022 from ReportLinker.

By 2026, that figure’s expected to hit $40.42 billion.

With an anticipated compound annual growth rate of 9.1% in 2026, the benefits of investing in OOH advertising are clear.

QR Code Trends

For agencies looking to draw consumers to brands with OOH QR codes, there are some key trends to consider.

AI and Automation

Brands are updating ads and personalizing the approach to consumers with machine learning.

Coca-Cola, for example, used AI to promote Smart Water when the temperature exceeds 21 degrees, ReportLinker noted.

Companies can use AI and optimization tools to use data like weather, temperature, time of day and more to promote certain products at key times.

Dynamic and Digital QR Codes

While static, print QR codes are still in widespread use, more brands are beginning to take advantage of the benefits of dynamic and digital QR codes.

Digitized QR codes empower brands to:

  • Appeal to consumers with movement and animation
  • Create interactive experiences
  • Show different QR codes/ads based on various factors (time of day, weather, etc.)
  • Update codes as brands learn more and apply changes

Engaging Experiences

QR codes have long been used to direct consumers to social media profiles, websites and more. However, more and more brands are using QR codes to connect with consumers through dynamic digital experiences that are personalized and provide value.

For example, Nordstrom Rack used a combination of QR codes and near-field communication (NFC) technology during New York Fashion Week, encouraging consumers to scan or tap posters.

The QR code launched a Blue Bite Experience showing consumers a video featuring looks of the season’s latest trends curated by Nordstrom Rack stylists. Consumers also had the opportunity to watch an Instagram live stream for more style ideas.

Location-based, mobile-first messaging is one of the best ways for brands to effectively connect with consumers. Combining a QR code with geofencing OOH marketing empowers brands to appeal to consumers with personalized location-based, mobile-first messaging.

Cut through the noise and connect with consumers with dynamic and engaging QR codes in OOH advertising.

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