QR codes are back and they are here to stay!

Posted by Victor Brugman on May 16th, 2021
6 Min. read


1. What even is a QR code?

QR code, or Quick Response Code, which you may have seen on products or in magazines. It has a square shape and is usually black and white in color. This is due to the high contrast so it's easily scannable from afar. The greater the color differences between the background and the data modules, the easier it is to read.

QR code is a specific way to store and distribute certain information, for example a specific link to a website.

Most modern smartphones can easily detect and read encrypted data using the built-in phone camera.

Therefore, QR codes are mainly aimed at smartphone users, which is not illogical given that (according to bankmycell.com) there are currently 3.8 billion smartphone users on this planet. and the number keeps growing. For example, 5 years ago there were 2.5 billion smartphone users: that is a growth of 65.8% in just 5 years!

2. How could QR codes be useful?

QR codes are useful for directing the user to specific information that cannot be found directly on the home page. Thanks to the QR code, users do not have to take unnecessary detours to get to the information they are looking for. The customer saves time by not having to search for the information, which can be useful in many cases.

For example, wine producers can print additional information in the form of a QR code on their bottles, so that the user can choose the right wine to drink directly in the store with a matching dish.

A QR code on the products in your shop window can attract customers outside your working hours. The possibilities are unlimited with QR codes, but the intention is to be able to connect an offline customer seamlessly with online.

If you look around you on the street, you can find a QR code on almost every shopping street. Especially when reserving a spot at a restaurant or when scanning a menu.

But not just on the street. Take a look in your kitchen cabinets: many companies also have discovered the usefulness of QR codes.

3. Are QR codes safe?

The software used to generate QR codes does not collect any personal identifiable information. The data it collects - and which is visible to the creators of the code - includes the location, the number of times the code was scanned and at what times, plus the operating system and browser of the device that scanned the code (e.g. iPhone and Safari).


Most modern phones will directly give a pop-up while aiming your camera at a QR code

On the other hand, you shouldn't scan all QR codes that you come across on the street without any context. QR codes can of course mislead you to a wrong website or malware. Therefore, always check whether the QR code you want to scan comes from a reliable party.

4. How do I generate a QR code?


We already hear you thinking: 'All well and good those QR codes, but how do I generate one?' There are of course several tools that you can use for this.

To find the best tool for generating a QR code, ask yourself these 3 questions:

• Can the QR code I am generating expire? Sometimes the code expires after a while and doesn't work anymore, so be careful when creating one and printing this.

• Is scanning the QR code free? Sometimes the first scans are free and after that you have to pay per scan to get access to the data behind it.

• Do you have access to information about using your QR code? Such as how often, where, when and with which device your QR code is scanned. This way you can see whether people are using the QR code.

• And for question 3, a 4th question can also be asked: Do I want to get the most out of this data? Almost all QR code generators only give the user the basic data. And what else can I do with this data? For more profound and useful, be our guest and let us give you a call!

5. Collecting data through QR codes

So you now know you can collect useful data that comes with QR codes being scanned.

Unfortunately, many QR code tools do not go into depth with this data. Of course it's nice to know how many people have scanned your QR code, but isn't it also nice to test, for example, which QR code does better? Or to know when a scan is unique or whether it is a returning visitor?

A/B testing is one of the things that's not offered with free QR code generators. A/B testing is a quantitative research method for comparing two variants to discover which variant produces the best result. In an A/B test, a test group is usually divided into two.

At Sub.Link we focus on collecting the most relevant data. In your custom dashboard you can see exactly which campaigns or channels convert the best, which trends are at play when scanning QR codes, where the scans come from and what type of device and browser the QR code was scanned on. The possibilities are endless.


Custom made dashboard (Sub.Link)


So the QR code has made a comeback and it is here to stay. Not only is it easy to quickly get to the information you are looking for, but many companies are slowly finding that the data that comes with scanning a QR code can be super useful.

Want to know more about responsible data collection? Check out our features or contact us!