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  • Writer's pictureLaura Merritt

Dynamic QR Codes: Why Should You Use Them?

In today's digital era, technologies evolve at a rapid pace to serve a myriad of functions. QR codes, or 'Quick Response codes,' which were first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan, have since morphed into a ubiquitous tool used worldwide for a multitude of purposes. But did you know that not all QR codes are created equal?

There are static and dynamic QR codes, and the latter brings an element of adaptability to the table. In this blog, we will delve into what dynamic QR codes are, how they differ from their static counterparts, why they are gaining traction and how to create one.

What are Dynamic QR Codes?

Dynamic QR codes are mutable or changeable. Unlike static QR codes, which lead you to one unchangeable destination (usually a URL), dynamic QR codes allow for the destination to be altered or updated without changing the QR code's appearance. This means that once you've printed or shared a dynamic QR code, you have the flexibility to modify its destination link as many times as needed.

Key Features of Dynamic QR Codes

  1. Changeable Content: One of the main features of dynamic QR codes is the ability to update the destination link without reprinting the QR code. This is incredibly useful for marketing campaigns, where the content might need periodic updating.

  2. Tracking and Analytics: Dynamic QR codes come with tracking capabilities. Businesses can track the number of scans, the location of scans, the time of scans, and even the type of device used. This data can be instrumental in evaluating the effectiveness of a campaign.

  3. Shorter URLs: When generating a dynamic QR code, the resulting URL is often shorter, making the QR code less dense and easier to scan.

How do Dynamic QR Codes Work?

Dynamic QR codes function by using a short URL redirect. When you generate a dynamic QR code, you're essentially creating a QR code for a shortened URL that redirects to your desired destination. This redirect link is hosted on a server, and you can easily change where the shortened URL points to without altering the QR code itself.

Why Use Dynamic QR Codes?

  • Flexibility: Consider a scenario where you've printed thousands of brochures with a QR code leading to a promotional video. With a static QR code, if the video link changes, you'd be stuck with outdated brochures. With a dynamic QR code, you can simply update the link, ensuring your printed materials remain relevant.

  • Data Insights: For organizations, understanding user behavior is crucial. Dynamic QR codes allow you to gain insights into user engagement, helping you tweak your strategies for better results.

  • Cost-Effective: Instead of reprinting materials every time there's a change in content, dynamic QR codes can be a cost-effective solution, as the same code can be used to direct users to updated content.

Static QR codes can also track analytics if you use UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes, which are snippets of text added to the end of a URL to track the metrics and performance of a specific digital marketing campaign. Using a UTM code allows you to track the source, medium and other details for where and for what the QR code is scanned.

If you opt for another generator service, make sure you check reviews to see if they're trustworthy.

How do I create a QR code?

There are several platforms that offer QR code generation and some are free. However, there are a few that may hide the fact that their “free” QR code disappears after a few weeks unless you pay an annual subscription fee. This is especially troublesome if you created, paid for and distributed print materials with that QR code on it, only to be told to pay potentially hundreds of dollars for a subscription in order to keep it active.

Some trustworthy sites and instructions for how to create your QR code include:

  • Canva: In the editor, click "Apps" in the side menu, then click on the "Your Apps" tab at the top, you'll find an app called "QR Code" that lets you create simple, customizable QR codes.

  • Chrome: At the far right of the browser bar, click on the "Share" icon and select "Create QR Code" (Note: this one comes with a dinosaur icon in the center)

  • InDesign: With your file open, click "Object" in the top menu and select "Generate QR Code". A new window will appear where you can add your content and edit the color of the QR code. Click "OK" to insert the generated QR code into your document.

The above options are free (either truly free or incorporated into a subscription fee you may already be paying). Be wary of any other QR code generator that advertises itself as free.

Also, most likely, these free QR codes are static, which means once they're created you can't edit the destination link or track user stats. Most dynamic QR code generators, which let you track analytics and make changes after generating the code, are likely part of a paid service.

Dynamic QR codes are revolutionizing the way we think about QR code technology. With their inherent flexibility and analytical capabilities, they provide immense value, especially in fast-paced sectors like marketing and retail. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, tools like dynamic QR codes will be instrumental in bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds. Whether you're a business owner, marketer, or just someone intrigued by technology's ever-evolving nature, dynamic QR codes are definitely worth exploring.

AOE has extensive experience helping our clients generate QR codes. Reach out to get started.


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