I received a magazine in the mail with an advertisement on the back cover that had both a URL and QR code as a call to action. The URL (shown above) prompted the reader to find additional information about available research by visiting www.companyname.com/research. However, when I visited that URL, I simply landed on the home page. This is a complete failure for two reasons.
- The home page had nothing to do with the advert or the offer to find additional research.
- The company missed the opportunity to embed tracking code into the URL that would record how many people visited the URL having seen the ad.
Disappointed, I pulled out my phone and scanned the QR code and was directed to www.companyname.com/insight. This page doesn’t even exist (see image below).
This is even more of an epic fail for three reasons.
- The QR code led me to a different URL than was displayed next to it on the ad. This is disorienting as I expected to go to the same URL. Fail.
- The QR code, prominently featured in the ad, led to a non-existent page. Fail.
- Last, I was not directed to a mobile version of the site, which means that I wasn’t even willing to browse the site because the experience wasn’t optimized for a phone. If you aren’t going to use a mobile site, then don’t use a QR code to drive mobile traffic. Huge fail!
You should learn two lessons from this. First, always test URLs and QR codes before publishing. Second, if you want the viewer to use an iPad or mobile phone, then optimize your content for an iPad or mobile phone.