The Return of QR Codes & How to Use Them Effectively

Remember when QR codes first came onto the marketing scene? They were hailed as the next big thing that would change the game, but it didn’t really catch on did it? 

Consumer technology just wasn’t quite there yet. The adoption of smartphones was in its early stages, those with smartphones needed a separate app just to scan the QR code, and widespread internet access simply wasn’t available enough for anything to be useful. Just like that, QR codes looked to be on their way out.

Fast forward almost a decade through camera app innovation and a global pandemic to today, and all of a sudden QR codes sit on every restaurant table, they’re posted on signage all around places like Disneyland, and now they’re popping up on broadcasts and livestreams. 

With technology finally caught up, QR codes could actually turn into the game changer that so many thought they would be. How do we get there you ask? Let’s dive into some best practices and real-life examples showcasing how you can effectively and efficiently leverage the power of QR codes to drive the results you want.

Best Practices

  1. Be Purposeful
  2. Teach Your Audience
  3. Measure Success

Be Purposeful

As my good friend Uncle Ben from Spider-Man taught us all — with great power, comes great responsibility. 

While it may be tempting to slap a QR code on absolutely everything, it’s important to do it purposefully. Give viewers or consumers a clear reason to scan the code and provide value to them for doing so.

Some of the most effective integrations that we’ve seen at Tagboard include codes that drive viewers to vote on an interactive poll with results shown live on-air, to unlock discount codes on merchandise or tickets, or to learn more about a particular topic being covered.

MCC Theaters’ Miscast uses QR codes to drive viewers to vote on the Twitter Poll and to promote the 2022 Miscast event

Teach Your Audience:

Though QR codes have made their comeback, not everyone is up to speed on how it all works, so it’s important to teach your audience along the way. Provide clear instructions on how to scan the code within the camera app, and leave it up on screen long enough for someone to pull out their phone and do so (recommended at least 15-20 seconds).

The New England Patriots brought us a fantastic example of this during their NFL Draft Preview show, illustrating how to scan the code and leave it up long enough to gather instant interaction on their interactive poll.

Measure Success

Perhaps the greatest benefit of using a QR code is how easy it is to track its performance.

All you need to do is generate the code using a trackable link like Bitly or a Google UTM, which will then enable you to monitor the number of scans and how visitors interact with content once they scan the code. The more data like this that you can collect, the more insights you’ll have to set goals and prove ROI for any sponsors that may be attached to the campaign. 

When News12 first started testing this out within their newscasts, they were able to track the instant success simply by inputting a Bitly link into the Tagboard Graphics QR code generator. Karen Horn, VP of Research & Growth for Altice News and Advertising, shed some light on the results live on the #Storyteller stage earlier this year:

We just sort of came up with this one idea one day, what happens if we play with a QR code? We know that the audience is largely sitting there watching their news with their phones in their hand, approximately 80 to 85% of them are doing that. They’re playing on their email. They’re playing on Slack, they’re looking up different facts as they hear them on the news. So we know that there is a whole second screen experience going on there, but we’ve never really connected it together.

We have an older audience. So we went into this thinking, if we can get 500 people to click on this (QR code), we’re going to be happy. Yeah. Like 20 minutes later, we nearly took the website down. We had 19,000 clicks in just a course of a few hours. It blew us away. – Karen Horn, VP of Research & Growth for Altice News and Advertising

How to Integrate a QR Code

So now we know the keys to strategically using QR codes and how to measure their success, but how do you actually integrate one into your programming? That’s where Tagboard comes in.

The Tagboard Graphics builder comes complete with a QR code generator that can intake any URL and output the code however you’d like to customize it. Simply plug in your brand colors and integrate a logo right in the middle of the code.

Once you have the style, positioning, and animation of the QR code set in stone, there’s no need to export and import an image file. Simply set it live within the cloud-based canvas of Tagboard Producer and display it across any connected screen.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to your success manager or get in touch with our sales team by emailing You can also catch the replay of our webinar, How to Integrate QR Codes into Your Production here.

For more real-life examples, check out our latest case study with the Detroit Lions, who put this all into action with perfection!