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8pc of magazine pages contained mobile bar code in Q1: study

QR codes, Microsoft Tags and other mobile action codes continue to spread through print magazines at a fast pace, with 1,356 mobile action codes printed in the first quarter of 2012, up from 352 during the same period a year ago, according to a new report from Nellymoser.

Brands are embracing mobile actions codes for their advertising as a way to extend the brand message beyond the printed page through the use of a mobile device. The Mobile Action Codes in Magazine Advertising Q1 2012 report found that, for the first time, the percentage of magazine pages containing an action code exceeded eight percent, up from 3.55 percent in March 2011.

?The big news is the broad acceptance of QR codes across magazines,? said Roger Matus, executive vice president of Nellymoser Inc., Arlington, MA. ?For the first time, every magazine except for one had a code within it.

?Also, for the first time, more than eight percent of all ad pages contained a code in every single month of the quarter,? he said. ?So, this means that every magazine reader has seen one of these codes and there are many of them in each magazine."

QR codes command market
The report shows that QR codes dominated the market with more than 80 percent of all action codes appearing during the first quarter, up from 72 percent in the previous quarter.

A year ago, the market was closely split between QR codes and Microsoft Tags. However, by March of this year, Microsoft Tags' share had dropped to 12 percent. All other mobile action codes, including SnapTags and digital watermarks, accounted for a six percent share in March.

?I am really surprised at how quickly QR codes came to command 80 percent of the market,? Mr. Matus said. ?Microsoft Tag dropped from a third of the market to 12 percent in less than six months.?

A growing number of brands are embracing 2D bar codes and other strategies for mobilizing their print ads in magazines. Nellymoser found that more than 450 brands ran at least one advertisement during the first quarter that included a code.

The top brand categories taking advantage of mobile action codes were beauty, health, home and fashion. Approximately 45 percent of all action codes used in magazines during the first quarter came from a brand in one of these industries.

The top brand during the first quarter for mobile action code use was TurboTax tax preparation software. The number two brand was Tyson, followed by O'Keeffe's Working Hands and Pandora.

The top magazines for mobile action codes were primarily women's magazines and home magazine titles.

Drive to video
In terms of how mobile action codes are used, 35 percent of the action codes during the first quarter drove users to view a video that was often created specifically for mobile use. Additionally, 21 percent of the codes took users to an ecommerce site, 20 percent linked to an opt-in, subscription or sweepstakes page and 18 percent connected to a brand's social media.

Another key finding is that more than 85 percent of action codes were placed on the bottom half of the page.

?I think that we have passed the stage when people wonder if it makes sense to link a page to a mobile experience,? Mr. Matus said.

?However, I think we are still in the experimentation stage when it comes to what is the right experience after the scan,? he said.

?I anticipate that we will see a lot more experiments with social sharing and commerce using mobile from the pages of a magazine.?