Your Friday Focus – QR Codes Explained

A Focus Group QR Code

People often ask me what exactly a QR code is and how to use it. The answer is pretty simple. Think of a QR code as an information barcode. We know barcodes, we understand how they work, and it is the same process with QR codes.

To discover the message in a QR code, the first step is to have a QR code reader installed on your smart phone. QR code readers work in different ways, so be sure to understand how yours works. Some require you take a picture, others require you to activate the app and point your phone’s camera to the QR code.

The information scanning a QR can return is completely up to those that created the code. It can lead to contact information like on a business card, it can lead to a website or straight to a phone number. The other question I get is how many people actually use the code. People that are tech savvy are certainly using QR codes, and we’re just beginning to exit the early adopter phase in the QR code product life cycle.

The website did some research into the habits of QR code users, and here’s what they learned: The most common user is a mom of a family, typically looking for additional coupons or product information.

When trying to determine if QR codes will be around for the future, we can also begin to look at how the tool is fitting into corporate advertising and marketing campaigns. The research reveals that 22 percent of the Fortune 500 companies were using the technology in their current campaigns. We’re also seeing more and more small to mid-sized companies integrating the codes.

The news isn’t all positive though as more research is also showing that just over 20 percent of college students are having a positive experience with QR codes, with the most common barrier to entry being an unsuccessful scan attempt. As the technology continues to move forward and people begin to understand how to scan the codes/the type of information you return to customers using the codes, you can expect the technology to be around for quite some time.


Have any questions about QR codes? You can contact Thomas Broadus at or by scanning this QR code.

Thomas Broadus | Director of Interactive and New Media with The Focus Group

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