ComScore's latest piece of share pr0n** focuses on QR Codes, serving up the headline: "14 Million Americans Scanned QR or Bar Codes on their Mobile Phones in June 2011."
Is that a lot? Well, It depends on whether your glass is half-empty or half-full perhaps. For context, I'll note there are approximately 312 million people in the U.S., so that translates to four percent of Americans.
But if you look at the 78.5 million smart phone users in the U.S., this percentage climbs to about 18 percent.
Ben Kunz, breaks down ComScore's math on his blog. He notes "the odds of any individual holding a smart phone actually scanning your code on a given day are 1 in 244.
Hero or Zero: It's Usually Somewhere In Between
It doesn't matter if 14 people or 14 million people scanned a QR Code in June 2011. The question to ask is: "did MY customer scan a QR Code in June 2011?"
To ComScore's credit, they speak to this question, noting the 14 million are: "more likely to be male, young to middle-age and upper income. Men were 25 percent more likely (index of 125) than the average mobile user to scan QR codes, representing 60.5 percent of the scanning audience."
Pragmatic QR Code Conversations
I've written about QR Codes before and for every smart use of a QR Code, you can probably find at least three bad examples. We'll always see good and bad uses of the shiny new as we test and learn (which can turn into crash and burn).
But I'm not saying don't use QR Codes. There are a variety of applications where an element of utility, instant gratification or discovery makes perfect sense and a QR Code can be the best path to that goal -- assuming your audience falls into the smart phone user/scanner profile. Don't forget to track and analyze how the codes are being used.
Stop, Breathe, Think
Via Google+ Kunz nails the point in all the ComScore-fueled discussion. "Stats are good, but they need context and critical thinking."
And that sums up where I'm at with QR Codes, most any shiny new marketing technology and even sites like Klout. But that's another blog post entirely.
**To be clear: ComScore, its practices and its published work are all good stuff. I'm taking issue with the knee jerk sharing that takes place when people see a stat that supports their assumption. It's that behavior that also makes me skeptical about the wisdom of the crowds.
Cross-Posted at my work blog.