Dynamic QR Code Tracking: The What, Why, and How

Uncover the power of dynamic QR codes for marketing campaigns and learn why and how to track their performance.
Diana Daia
May, Wed 04, 2022
Webinar - 39 mins

Unlock the Power of Dynamic QR Codes

How do QR codes work and how do you measure their performance? Watch this webinar to learn how to create dynamic QR codes, get inspiring use cases, and find out how to track them effectively.

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In 2021, 45% of US consumers used a QR code related to a marketing, advertising, or promotional offer*. There’s no doubt that QR codes are back and they’re here to stay. But how do marketers maximize their use and gauge their success?

As with any other marketing effort, using a QR code in your campaigns is probably geared towards driving a specific goal: connecting an offline experience with a landing destination, moving users further in their journey, and ultimately driving a conversion. If you came across this article, you’re probably wondering: how do you measure all that?

This is where the humble 2D alphanumeric barcode provides a great data opportunity: tracking.

Tracking your QR codes enables you to have full governance over creating and editing the data behind the code, as well as analyzing their performance.


What QR codes can you track

Not all QR codes are created equal.

You’re probably familiar with the two types of QR codes: static and dynamic.

While both kinds are commonly used in marketing campaigns, here’s something worth considering: only dynamic QR codes can be tracked.


What’s the difference between static and dynamic QR codes

A static QR code encodes specific information (like a string of characters and numbers, a specific URL, etc.) directly into its data modules. This action is permanent.

What this means is that once you’ve created a static QR code, you cannot edit the data behind it. In turn, you cannot track scan performance, measure user activity or get performance insights after publishing.

Without the ability to know when and how a QR code is used, you’re missing out on a lot of tracking and governance potential.

That’s where dynamic QR codes come in.

Unlike static QR codes, dynamic QR codes do not encode information straight into the graphics of the code. Instead, they simply include a redirect URL link.

Unlike static QR codes, dynamic QR codes do not encode information straight into the graphics of the code. Instead, they simply include a redirect URL link.

As an additional layer, the redirect link can also be branded to reflect your brand strategy and provide a smoother user experience.

Here’s what the dynamic QR code path looks like:

Dynamic QR Code Tracking - Path

Can you edit a dynamic QR code once it’s active

The short answer here is yes. Since the information is not captured directly in the code itself, but in the short redirect link, you can change the final destination URL without affecting your campaign’s performance.

Many brands find this capability useful, since it enables them to fix common broken landing page issues on campaigns that are actively driving traffic. They can resolve this in real time while continuing to track campaign performance.

What can you track with a dynamic QR code

With dynamic QR codes, you can track many user-focused metrics you’re probably familiar with.

These can include:

Number of scans
Registers the total amount of times your dynamic QR code has been scanned. You can also track unique scans and multiple scans to find out if the QR code has been tracked multiple times by specific users.
A dynamic QR code can also record location information such as country, region, or city based on a user’s IP address.
Device, browser, and OS
With a dynamic QR code you can optimize content delivery geared towards specific devices, browsers, and operating systems.
A dynamic QR code can also log the specific time when the code was used.

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What else can you track with a dynamic QR code

Besides basic metrics that tell you where and when a dynamic QR code is used, you can also add other useful campaign tracking metrics to get enriched insights and tie in your dynamic QR codes to your overall digital marketing efforts.

What you can track here is completely up to you and your overall campaign tracking taxonomy.

The tracking information captured in the destination URL string can include any parameters such as:

Campaign name
Campaign source
Content type

In reality, dynamic QR codes enable you to treat your campaigns containing QR codes just like any other digital campaign and apply your campaign tracking parameters accordingly.


Why track dynamic QR codes

While there are many advantages to tracking your QR codes dynamically, let’s highlight three key advantages:


1. Know what’s working and what isn’t

By tracking QR codes using the metrics that make sense to your business, you are able to tie in your offline efforts to the real impact of your campaign.

You can measure campaign performance in your analytics platform and use your attribution models just like you’re doing with all your other digital campaigns.


2. Evaluate the user experience and optimize accordingly

By evaluating what, where and how a user clicked on your dynamic QR code, you can optimize campaigns that are performing poorly on the go. You can e.g. change the creative or optimize tracking parameters in real time without affecting the active QR code

In addition, a trackable QR code can reveal useful user trends and action patterns that you can use in your future campaigns.


3. Get more reliable and consistent data

With dynamic QR codes, you can be consistent about what you’re tracking and follow your campaign tracking taxonomy standards.

In turn, this means that you get more reliable data for your reports and ultimately, an improved ROI for your dynamic QR code campaigns.


*Source: The Drum - US consumers can’t quit QR codes, per new The Drum/YouGov study

Diana Daia

Who is Diana Daia?

Diana Daia is the Head of Content Marketing at Accutics and a strategist with a no-nonsense growth approach. She is passionate about digital marketing, CRO, digital analytics, and account-based strategy. She works closely with collaborative content & influencer outreach by creating guest articles and deep-dive interviews with leading marketing and digital analytics experts.

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