QR codes outperform SMS marketing for Ladbrokes


By Chris Lee

As the public become ever more accustomed with QR codes – the black and white pixilated squares that can be scanned by mobile devices and lead customer to offers and further information – so companies are starting to see the benefits. The latest company to claim success with QR code marketing is Ladbrokes, which has announced that in its recent promotion for its mobile betting service, QR codes outperformed SMS by delivering over twice as many responses and a third more acquisitions.

As NMK reported previously, 40 per cent of consumers across all age groups are now familiar with QR codes and 12 per cent have successfully scanned a QR code with their mobile phone camera. Ladbrokes posted QR codes in advertisements with a range of media including The Sun, Racing Post, i, Racing+ and The Star. Consumers had the option to respond via QR or SMS. Using the proprietary QR code engagement platform from mobile payment technology firm zappit, Ladbrokes saw more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of responses driven by QR.

What’s the secret code?

QR drove more than 10,000 engagements in total, with around a quarter of the users who scanned the QR codes doing so more than once and, over the course of the campaign, 13 per cent of the audience interacted with the QR codes more than four times. zappit provides QR analytic technology that tracks re-engagements, advised Ladbrokes on the correct call to action for the adverts and worked closely with its mobile marketing team throughout the campaign.

Mark Fraser, CEO of zappit, told NMK that the technology behind QR codes is perfect for marketing, but that any perceived issues with their effectiveness have often been caused by poor application and execution.

“Good marketing in the digital age is about incentive and engagement and QR is no different,” he told NMK. “It should provide the consumer with something they can’t get elsewhere; exclusive content, money-off, anything likely to get them to engage and ensure that once they have scanned the code they take an action from it. Many brands using QR codes simply direct people to a website – I see this all the time in newspaper ads – and this provides little or no incentive for people to scan QR Codes in future.”

QR you?

Fraser believes that this misuse of QR has impacted take-up of what is potentially a hugely powerful marketing tool, but that recently brands have started to use QR in a way that encourages people to make the scan and gives them something worthwhile when they do.

“Take-up amongst consumers is on the increase, to the extent that QR codes significantly outperformed SMS as a customer acquisition tool on the recent campaign zappit did with Ladbrokes,” he said. “The availability and quality of free QR apps has improved and they are even starting to be pre-installed on handsets, making it easier still for consumers to use them. QR is rapidly becoming a mainstream mobile marketing technology.”

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