posted on May 9th, 2011

Tracking QR Codes Using Google Analytics

BY Jason Howard in Advertising ,

QR Codes is an easy to use technique to connect the web and the print mediums. QR codes can be placed on print ads & materials, and are scanned via mobile devices and smartphones. The call to action for QR codes can range from ringing a phone, to collecting email addresses to imparting a second-to-none mobile experience for the user. Redirecting mobile users to a landing page or a website that has been done specifically for the mobile users is one of the best call to action that a QR code enabled ad can have.

Why is Tracking Important?

The QR codes can be used in different means and formats like flyers, stickers, newspaper ads or even paper carry bags.  In order to understand what mediums are working the most, you need to track your campaign. Even within a medium if you are using different ad copies, text options or images, tracking of QR codes tell you a lot about which versions performed better over the other ones.

How to Track QR Codes?

Going step by step always helps in designing a fool-proof system and same holds true with tracking of QR codes too.

  • Campaign Planning and Structuring: Depending on what parameters need to be tracked (like location/source/medium), it is important to structure a campaign. If your print ads are scheduled to run in two of the leading newspapers in your town, you may be interested in measuring the performance of one against the other. If the content within those two print ads differs on different days, not only would you need to track individual newspapers, but the ad copy too, that varied. Each segment that you need to create should have a different QR code.

  • Using Google’s URL Builder: Google URL builder ads parameters to your QR code URLs so that they are tracked by Google Analytics. The reports are populated under the “Campaign” sub-tab of the “Traffic Sources” section. Campaign Source and Campaign Medium are two mandatory fields that the Google URL builder tool requires for you to tag the URLs.

  • Shortening of the URLs: and are the two most popularly used URL shortening services on the web which have web analytics of their own. These services are a boon for QR codes as the creative tends to become bigger in size with a longer URL. If you are advertising in a leading daily, space might be a constraint and you want the creative to appear more prominent rather than the QR code itself.

  • Generating QR Codes: Kaywa and Zxing are probably the most used services for generating QR codes. The URL shortening websites and also generate the QR codes on their own. Click on the info page link next to the shortened URL output page and you will find your QR code. In, just click the “Details” link and you will find the QR code.

QR codes, along with Microsoft tags are on a song. These codes are seeing an increased adoption by businesses and a newer way of targeting the smartphone audience who want interactivity anywhere, anytime.


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