The MMA released a white paper providing marketers with best practices, definitions and analytics on mobile barcodes. They are not new to the marketing industry, but customers are becoming more familiar with them. Brands must educate users to mobile barcodes as part of their campaigns to increase user adoption.


The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) released a white paper on mobile barcodes and marketing « Mobile Barcodes : An overview for Marketers ». The paper addresses a number of topics related to mobile barcodes, from how to choose the right barcode for a marketing campaign to user cross media engagement, the goal being to provide marketers with definitions and best practices on how to use barcodes for branding.

Customers are becoming more “barcode knowledgeable”

The use of mobile barcodes has been growing quite a bit and across the globe, although some countries use them more than others. The MMA paper says “the use of barcodes as a call to action in ‘out of home’ advertisements, packaging or other media is commonplace” in Japan. In the US, however, the industry is still experimenting with barcodes more than anything else. In Japan, “over 90% of consumers are familiar with barcodes” and understand how to interact with them, while 51% of American consumers “have seen mobile barcodes”. It appears that younger parts of the population are more aware of mobile barcodes – 71% among the 18-34 year old (Comscore study).

Mobile barcodes, more than a gadget for brands

While some may see mobile barcodes as a somewhat superficial artifact to catch customers’ attention, the MMA white paper suggests otherwise. According to SpyderLynk (a barcode solution provider) CEO Nicole Skogg, "Mobile barcodes offer unmatched opportunity to increase brand value by adding measurable interactive functionality and richer consumer engagement." She also said that "Mobile barcodes make static media – like packaging, print ads, broadcast TV and billboards – interactivBrae, and our white paper explores the many possibilities of mobile activation functionality."

Best practices focus on educating users to mobile barcodes

Among the many best practices listed in the paper, the majority are about educating customers to mobile barcodes. In order to make it a frictionless and easy experience, brands have to make sure they tell customers how and why engage with a mobile barcode, make the barcode very visible and place it where it can be easily scanned by costumers. According to the MMA, mobile barcodes are very promising tools for marketers, and starting to identify best practices is a first step towards a mainstreaming of mobile barcodes worldwide.

By Delphine Prediger