QR Codes Debut in the Super Bowl, But Still Aren’t a Threat to Domain NamesPosted: February 8, 2012
This past Super Bowl weekend marked the first time a QR code was used in a Super Bowl commercial. There’s a certain level of irony about it too, as some believe that QR codes pose a threat to domains, and the company that used the QR code was domain company GoDaddy.
In fact, GoDaddy reported record traffic to their mobile site likely thanks to the QR code. Certainly, if there were still a significant amount of people that didn’t know about QR codes, they do now. A record 111.3 million US viewers watched the Super Bowl. So certainly the QR code gained a lot from its inclusion in a Super Bowl commercial.
However, as we’ve noted before, QR codes are not a threat to domains.
Why are QR codes not a threat to domain names
1. They still aren’t that heavily used
As it stands, there are still some smartphones that do not scan QR codes, and no other kinds of mobile phones scan them either. Looking at other mobile devices, the iPad 2 can scan them but the original iPad can’t. That said, there are a lot of devices out there now that can scan them, but QR codes simply aren’t circulated enough to see major use yet.
This may likely change in the coming years. Consider QR codes to be more multi-purposeful interactive bar codes that have been seeing some ingenious use such as allowing people to scan them to pay for an item or find out more information about it. There are many other reasons however why in advertisements, domains still have a much bigger role.
2. Their sole purpose in ads is navigation
Domains serve many different purposes for a business/website, and its role in an ad is for both navigation and branding. While a QR code in an ad can certainly lead to many different kinds of destinations, it really serves only one purpose: navigation. They may work alongside domains in ads, but not in place of them for that reason.
3. Only convenient for mobile users
As already mentioned, there are a limited number of devices that can scan QR codes. They are all mobile devices. For those sitting in front of their TVs with their laptop, seeing the QR code in a commercial meant very little since there was nothing they could do with it. If those ads want anyone besides mobile users to go to their website, they would need to include their domain.
4. You can’t memorize a QR code
Another limiting word to what QR codes can do is immediate. You can only do something with them while they are in front of you. You can’t remember a QR code like you can a domain.
In the case of the GoDaddy commercials containing QR codes, that may be convenient navigation at that moment if you have your smartphone handy, but otherwise, you would have to have recorded the commercial and would need to bring up the point when the QR code shows in order to scan it.
5. A QR code only is one of many roads that lead to the business’s domain
Ultimately, QR codes aren’t threats because they are simply one means to an end, not the end itself. Domains are the end itself – where you ultimately want people looking for your business online to go. QR codes can help make offline marketing work hand in hand with SEO, SEM, social media and other methods of driving traffic, but that traffic has to go somewhere.
If you have a better domain, it can help with most of those marketing methods. A QR code on the other hand will only help get a subset of viewers of your offline marketing to you. It simply isn’t meant to replace a domain and never will.