Search on Mobile Devices, QR Codes, Mobile & Social: The Next Mobile Frontier

Moderator: Andrew Beckman, CEO, Location3 Media

Terry Rodrigues, Senior Director, Product Management, Mobile Search, Yahoo!
Angie Schottmuller, Founder, Interactive Artisan

This will be my last session for this SES San Francisco.  Bittersweet to say the least.  My only hope is that it’s worth the time, and I’m sure it will be.


After some photo ops for the panelists, we’ll be getting into the session.  You can always tell when we’re near the end of the conference because people start to pay a little less attention to time and things aren’t as tightly run as they are say on Day 1.

Angie will begin with her presentation to talk about Mobile Barcode Marketing.  Dana Todd talked a little about  this in the last session, so check out Virginia’s post that covered it.

There are multiple types of barcodes. The 1D barcode – straight lines, typical codes and 2D which are the new funky QR codes that are usually a box with strange little designs.

The scanning process is unique and anyone with a smart phone that contains the app. can do it. What can barcodes store?  Text, URLs, email, MMS/SMS text message, phone numbers, contact record, calendar entry and geo-location.  The smart phone is able to interpret the intent of the barcode and react appropriately.

Tons of companies and industries are using mobile barcode marketing.  Trends are growing like crazy.  In North America, the growth was up over 4500% when comparing Q1 2010 and Q1 2011. That’s pretty amazing.

Are people scanning the same barcodes multiple times.  The answer is yes.

A reason to implement mobile barcodes: people LOVE their phones!  Also, barcodes are free and easy to use. Get a free generator to create them.  You can also do clever artistic opportunities because they have an  error correction mechanism.

QR codes are scalable to nearly any surface. As long as there’s a contrast for decoding, you can put them anywhere…even in sand! Mobility presents opportunities everywhere. Someone even did it in their shaved head. Hmm, ok, whatever floats your boat.

Mobile barcodes allow you to gather tangible metrics. You can measure direct mail response, customer satisfaction and more.  It gives you the chance to measure online along with offline response which is something that isn’t done often. By presenting a bridge between digital and non-digital it uniquely enhances the user experience.  You can save users’ time by preloading otherwise manually entered data.

Some companies that have used QR codes effectively: a record company who hid codes on animal shapes around the city and the codes promoted the sale of songs from an album.  This campaign caused songs to sell out and was more effective than the dreamed.  GNC also used codes for a deal of the day to help drive traffic to the store.  Taco Bell is doing the Big Box Remixed that gives you exclusive MTv content.  Allure is doing a sample giveaway and this year they’ve have over 200k scans in just 3 days.  MyToys Lego codes is a campaign that built codes out of Legos and the campaign boosted online traffic and sales for particular Lego sets.

What makes a good campaign? Here are 4 Golden Rules to follow:

  • Serve a business objective
  • Create a value-added user experience
  • Provide contextual assistance by the code.
    • Tell users:
      • What to do
      • What they’ll get upon scanning
      • How to get a reader app
      • How to participate without using the barcode
      • Test and ensure codes are scannable – very imperative
        • For some phones it needs to be at least 1” x 1”

How to start your campaign? Here are some simple steps:

Step 1:

Serve a business objective

Step 2:

Identify unique conversion opportunities. Leverage industry stats for insightful tips.

Step 3:

Identify the value to provide the user. Is it going to be exclusive content, deals, time savings or even helpful data?  This is something you need to decide on.

Step 4:

Define your campaign. What is the code contents going to be? Be sure to have a mobile-friendly landing page. Decide on the code design, placement and any contextual assistance.  Prequalify the scannability of the code too. Even go as far as to think about the Wifi availability, lighting, timing and surface material/shape.

Step 5:

Select Tools. Are you going to use the barcode type QR or Microsoft tag.  Select a generator and tracking capabilities. You’ll also need to define the reader app collection.  Some apps Angie recommends are:

Attscanner, beetagg, i-nigma, mobiletag, neoreader, optiscan, qrafter, quickmark, redlaser, scanlife, upcode, tagreader are some recommended apps. [please excuse the incorrect use of capital letters in these names]

Her Top picks: ATT Scanner, BeeTagg, QuickMark, Microsoft Tag, Scanlife for 2D

Some of Angie’s recommended generators and platforms include:

Delivr, I-nigma, Beqrious, Scanlife, Qrstuff, Avmore, Tappinn, Sparqcode, Qreate and track

Features to consider:

Costs, Content type (URL, meCard, text), Output (color, size, file type, ECL), Included mobile landing page, Code editing (after creation)

Kerem Erkan, Delivr, Microsoft Tag are all top picks

Step 6:

Generate & test your barcode. Minimize code content before generating and increase ECL for designer codes. Save barcode image, resize and edit. Print and test scanning the image. Place the barcode.

Step 7:

Implement and track

Here are some of the opportunities for barcode uses:

  • Unlimited uses
  • Major growth area
  • Easy and inexpensive to implement
  • Simple, value-added experience is imperative

Over and above all else, don’t forget the 4 golden rules!

Whew! That was a lot of information!  Next speaker, Terry is to talk about mobile search in terms of Yahoo.

How do smart phone consumers spend their time? They are connecting, searching, managing, entertaining and becoming informed as well as navigating and shopping.

Re-imagining mobile search includes apps discovery, audio & video co-viewing, gesturing, and voice search. One related question is why don’t we get a similar experience on mobile as on PC?  People using mobile want to get answers fast. They don’t want to get the “10 blue links” but they just want an answer they don’t have to hunt for. Yahoo is starting to change the experience for users and moving more towards that instant answer.

With mobile GPS, you are able to deliver very targeted results based on their results which is a powerful thing.  Yahoo has developed some strong local intent capabilities.

Voice search is so handy because you just talk your search and the phone will come up with some results that are relevant.

Apps are a big market.  An app  like the Sketch-A-Search app allows gesture search. You draw a circle around an area on a map and it’ll give you results based on that.

IntoNow is an easy and fun social experience app around your favorite TV shows.

Appspot is an app that helps you discover apps. Once you find an app you want you’ll get a QR code to buy or discover more.

Choose an ad format that keeps user in context/app.  66% of users prefer that ads do not take them outside of the app. 59% are ok with advertising if it means access to content. Keep this in mind because mobile ads are more impactful than online display ads.

So what kind of mobile search marketing opportunities are available? Brand building and consumer engagement, customer acquisition, and driving local traffic. Many large brands are using mobile to send out deals, coupons etc. to help build their brands. Using mobile for consumer engagement can also be useful.  It gets your customers involved.

An example of customer acquisition is the map feature on the phone for local business.  A person searches for a local restaurant and finds the address. From their phone they are also able to call the restaurant, making it much easier for the company to interact and connect with the consumer.

Yahoo is really trying to get users to answers instead of links when it comes to mobile.  They want to connect people to what matters most with their search experience.  They are not limited to just text search, but offer voice, gesture and QR code searches.  This provides a fun way to discover and explore.


Once a hard working corporate type, Jayme traded in her office and business attire for cowboy boots and the Sierra Nevada mountains. At one time Jayme was the director of SEO for Bruce Clay Inc., then senior SEO analyst for WebMetro. She now spends her time out in the country. As a busy mom, soccer coach, weekly volleyball player, weekend hiker and hobbyist photographer she does manage to find a few hours a week to stay connected to the Internet Marketing world plus she is still doing SEO on a handful of clients. You won't find her active on Twitter or her own blog, because when she does have spare time she's usually away from her computer enjoying what life has to offer, away from the computer monitor. In fact her own website is sinfully neglected. Even though she has grand plans to one day put some energy into her own blog that day still hasn't arrived, possibly after her kids are both in school.

See Jayme's author page for links to connect on social media.

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