Maximizing QR code potential: industry-specific strategies for success

QR codes are so prevalent in today’s world that you probably see and interact with them more than you do your own family (A friendly reminder we all need to call those who are closest to us more often). But just because they are used widely, it doesn’t mean that content teams are capitalizing on their capabilities. QR codes have a wide range of benefits, and because of that there are industry-specific strategies you should be looking at. Simply using a QR code is not enough to fully capitalize on its potential. In this article, we will explore various industry-specific strategies to make the most of QR codes and send your production on the road to success.

Digital Livestreams

Within digital livestreams QR codes can be useful in several ways from driving better engagement, to being a resource for additional information, or creating new real-estate on screen for branded activations.

  • Calls-to-action: Encourage viewers to scan the QR code to participate in a poll, enter a giveaway, or access additional information related to the livestream. We’ve seen Riot Games have success with this as they drive audiences to live polling on Twitter during their livestreams on Twitch.
  • Additional information: Use QR codes to send viewers to a landing page with more information about your event, access exclusive content, or direct them to download additional content that’s related to what you’re discussing.
  • Branded integration: Drive to exclusive discounts for viewers watching in real-time, as well as links to online stores or products related to your livestream.
qr codes and digital livestreams with tagboard
Riot Games – VCT Masters coverage

One additional thing to note – particularly on digital livestreams – is that your audience may be viewing on a cell phone. It’s important to understand your audience’s viewing habits and build additional paths for participation like SMS shortcodes or trackable URL shorteners.

Alternate Broadcasts

When audiences are watching alternate broadcasts they’re typically looking for a more personalized, interactive, and differentiated experience from the main broadcast. Because of this, QR codes can be used in many different ways to provide audiences with the experience they desire.

  • Interactive polls: Make viewers part of the production by encouraging simple participation via a QR code. It’s the quickest way to inspire interaction with your program and see stronger results as it relates to polling, and a more active conversation across social channels. It didn’t take long for Amazon to see success with this strategy during their alternate broadcasts of Thursday Night Football on the Dude Perfect production. Audience could scan, interact, and have a hand in the direction of the show.
  • Route audience across channels: QR codes that drive audiences to additional programming or information allow viewers to easily access and engage with additional content without having to manually type in URLs or search for the information on their own. This can increase the overall engagement and retention of your broadcast audience, as well as provide opportunities for further sponsorships.
  • Track your audience: QR codes can also be used to track the effectiveness of the alternate broadcast, as they can be used to gather data on how many viewers have scanned the code, where your most engaged audiences are located, and how long to keep QR codes on screen. This can be valuable information for broadcasters to improve their audience engagement while bringing sponsors highly valuable information.
qr codes and alternative broadcasts with tagboard
Amazon Thursday Night Football – Dude Perfect Alternate Broadcast

Video Podcasts

By nature podcasts are designed to be a passive listening experience, but with the rise in video podcasts that experience has the potential to become a more active experience for audiences. 

  • Explore additional information: While you do have more time to dive deep on topics there are still plenty of spots to introduce QR codes to send your audience to other resources or articles you’ve developed. FOX Sports did a great job with this during the World Cup, sending their audience to more in-depth articles written by journalists covering the matches in Qatar. This can help to deepen the listener’s understanding of the topic and provide a more engaging and interactive experience while driving highly-valuable visitors to your site to gather first party data & drive sponsors’ returns.
  • Increase app or podcast downloads: The digital team at NFL Media has turned all their podcasts into video format and are using QR codes to help increase subscriptions. It’s a much more effective route than telling your audience to go find your podcast wherever they get their podcasts and click subscribe.
  • Interactive experiences: When growing a loyal audience of listeners/viewers the more interactivity you bring to the podcast production the more your audience will feel connected to the show. Inviting your audience to interact on certain topics, or pick future topics of conversation via QR codes that direct the audience to polls and surveys is a great way to differentiate your podcast from your competitors.
qr codes and video podcasts with tagboard
NFL Media – Around the NFL Podcast

Live Sports and QR

QR codes are key to enhancing the overall fan experience at a live sports event and encourage your fan base to stay engaged throughout the live event.

  • Track fan behavior: QR codes can provide valuable data for teams and venues based on how fans engage. This data can be used to improve the fan experience, optimize marketing efforts, and make data-driven decisions. The Chicago White Sox, and many MLB teams, use QR codes to create a more interactive experience between innings via trivia, game predictions, and voting.
  • Relay important information: Using QR codes can be a more cost effective and efficient way to help provide parking and transportation instructions, safety guidelines, and updates on the event schedule. This improves the overall event experience and reduces confusion for fans.
  • Increase brand loyalty: allows fans to access exclusive content and offers, such as behind-the-scenes footage, player interviews, and special promotions. Adding some exclusive content for fans in attendance creates a strong incentive for them to keep coming back instead of opting for an at-home viewing experience.
Chicago White Sox – Big screen song poll

QR Codes and Broadcast News

The data tells us that more than 80% of viewers have a second device in hand when watching television. It’s a number that’s only growing and why it’s important to use QR codes to engage with your audience. Make a call to action that they stop scrolling on that device and start scanning. 

  • Increase Engagement: QR codes allow viewers to interact with the news broadcast by scanning and accessing additional information, resources related to the story, or interactive daily polls that showcase audience sentiment. This can increase viewer engagement and loyalty to your programming. It’s also a great way to provide more info to your audience than is possible in a standard 30 minute news broadcast. Local news affiliates within the Sinclair Broadcast Group invite their viewers into the broadcast through interactive polls across a wide range of topics.
  • Improve Audience Targeting: QR codes are the latest and greatest way to gather data on viewers, such as demographics, interests, and viewing habits. Viewer data is gold in this day and age. This data can be used to improve audience targeting and tailor news broadcasts to specific groups of viewers.
  • Increase Reach: QR codes can be used to direct viewers to your owned properties like the station website, social media channels, or other digital platforms, which can increase the reach of the news story. The longer you keep your audience on your platforms the better.
Sinclair Broadcast Group – WCHS TV

QR Codes for Live Events

You’d be hard pressed to attend a live event and not see a QR code somewhere on the grounds. But not everyone is using them efficiently, and some aren’t using QR codes at all. If you aren’t using QR codes at your live event you’re missing out on creating the most friendly and familiar experience for your attendees. 

  • Call audience to action: There is no better way to spread awareness of your event and generate a sense of FOMO from those who aren’t there than amplifying the conversation about your event across social channels. A QR code acts as the perfect medium to encourage your audience to share their experience on social media. The University of Texas gave us a prime example of how this can be done with their social media “roll call” activation.
  • Track audience habits: QR codes can be used for tracking attendance and gathering data on event attendees. Overall, integrating QR codes into live events can enhance the event experience for attendees and provide valuable information for event organizers
  • Share additional information: QR codes can be useful in live events as they can provide a convenient and efficient way for attendees to access information or perform actions, such as scanning a code to access a digital event program or to check in to an event. They can also be used to facilitate contactless payments. 
University of Texas – Gone to Texas event

Press Conferences and QR Codes

QR codes have the ability to bring new energy and engagement to something that is traditionally mundane and at times closed off to the public. Press conferences are proving to be a perfect opportunity for QR codes.

  • Enhance the engagement: If fans are allowed to be present at the press conference, or if it’s streaming online, you can throw up a QR code that invites fans to participate and have the opportunity to write in a question. This turns a passive viewing experience into an engaged one. Instead of fans simply listening to reporters ask questions this allows them to test their reporting chops, or have a question they’re curious about be asked and answered.
  • Supply additional information: Instead of handing out media packets or printed transcripts of the press conference, you can start to share information via QR codes. Throw the codes on a screen and invite the press to scan and download or simply view the digital copies on their phone.
CFP National Championship – Playoff Fan Central

No matter the industry or medium there are clear themes prevalent across all that showcase how the proper strategy with QR codes will enhance your audience’s experience, become the most efficient and effective way to share information, and allow you to track and better understand your audience behavior. Three things that will support your bottom line send you on the QR code road to success.