Who's Scanning the Ubiquitous QR Code?

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You can find QR codes practically anywhere these days. Short for "Quick Response," they're the little black-and-white pixilated squares that are commonly found in print ads and business cards, on products, displayed on television, and even stitched into fabric. If a person's phone has a camera and the right kind of reader app, he can scan the QR code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a Web page.

And I say "he" because a report just released by comScore says of the 14 million U.S. mobile users who scanned a QR code using their devices in June, about 61 percent were male. More than half were between the ages of 18 to 34 and more than a third had a household income greater than $100,000.

As for where these cell-phone wielding consumers are grabbing the codes, the study found that users are most likely to scan codes found in newspapers and magazines and on product packaging and do so while at home or in a store.

While 14 million people making use of the codes in month sounds like a big number, it's actually only 6.2 percent of the total U.S. mobile audience. In Asia, however, people love them, which makes sense considering they were invented in Japan back in the 90s.

Considering that the smartphone isn't going anywhere the QR code will no doubt increase in popularity here. Social Media Explorer predicts, in fact, that we'll see much more QR activity going forward, including greater brand integration in print magazines, more consistent use in outdoor media, and integration of QR codes with games and social commerce.

Ad Age says that for marketers, they're a game changer for several reasons. They can make virtually anything interactive, even books or socks, for that matter. They're also easily customizable and easily trackable. Marketers can view how many times a code was scanned by whom and with what kind of device.

Want to play around with them yourself? First you'll need a reader app. You can also make your own QR code.

What's the most interesting application of a QR code you've seen?

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