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Black-and-white & read all over QR Codes offer Ohio paper growth potential

Feb 1, 2011 12:00 AM


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Based in Dayton, Ohio, the Dayton City Paper is an alternative weekly with a dynamic mix of arts, entertainment, culture, events, dining, and politics. Over the past 15 years, the paper has continued to transform, providing its readers (who average between 32 and 37 years of age) information of interest for the active and professional community. As a publication funded strictly by advertisers, part of this transformation has included researching and investing in cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions.

Saw globally, acted locally

When publisher Paul Noah visited Japan a year ago, he was intrigued to see QR Codes in widespread use. The ubiquitous black-and-white tags can be placed in printed advertisements or other static locations. When scanned by consumers from their smartphones, the QR Code will direct the consumer to an online site containing further information on the product or business being advertised.

“I saw QR Codes on everything from magazines to billboards [in Japan], but it was when a local organization, Scan Dayton, started using QR Codes for scavenger hunts around the city that I realized it was something we could offer as well,” said Noah.

Beyond creating QR Codes in-house, Noah wanted a solution with tracking capabilities so he could prove the redemption rate and entice more advertisers to participate. When some consultants showed Noah interlinkONE's QReate & Track software, he visited the company's website and was drawn to the affordability of the web-based platform as well as the robust tracking capabilities it offered.

Using interlinkONE's QReate and Track, the Dayton City Paper is now integrating QR Codes into its own advertising and proactively experimenting on behalf of its major advertisers. A recent issue of the paper featured dentist, car dealership, and restaurant ads with QR Codes. Upon scanning the QR Code, information such as the IP address of the mobile device being used is captured by interlinkONE's software. For the user, the QR Codes create a unique opportunity to learn more about the business, its products and services by directing them to online information via a webpage or video.

For the Dayton City Paper's advertisers, QReate & Track records the amount of scans per day, what time those scans took place, and the type of device being used to scan the Code. QReate & Track allows the Dayton City Paper to capture data on individual consumer interests and provide that information to each advertiser. The paper has noted especially strong response rates for the QR Code located in the local restaurant's advertisement, as well as those spread throughout its own website.

“Through interlinkONE's QReate & Track ability to measure response, we have been able to see that our advertiser The Pine Club is receiving around six scans per week, which might not be a lot in terms of pure numbers but is promising when you take into account the current lack of knowledge by consumers of the technology,” says Noah. “We have QR Codes placed in our paper, and our response rates have been significant, as well. We even dedicated a page on our site to inform readers about the technology and provide them with links to various QR Code readers.”

See www.daytoncitypaper.com.

Now it's an interactive digital medium

Going forward, the Dayton City Paper plans to continue offering QR Codes as a free added-value opportunity to those adventurers ready to embrace the new technology. “There is no doubt in my mind that QR Codes are going to be the savior of print,” says Noah. “With QR Codes, suddenly my newspaper is an interactive digital medium and reachable via avenues unavailable before.” See www.interlinkone.com.

Resistance is futile. A Flickr Group Pool called “QR Codes in the Wild” showcases thousands of codes spotted on objects, locations and products around the world. See www.flickr.com/groups/qrcodes/pool/with/5241281672.