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Action Code Response Rate Exceeds Direct Mail

Mobile action codes get response rate of up to 6 percent, according to mobile tech firm Nellymoser.


Digital action codes have become the most-responded-to form of print marketing, according to a recent study by mobile marketing and technology firm Nellymoser.

The report, which looked at seven magazines over a 12-month period, revealed a median response rate of 4.5 to 5.9 percent, with a high of 26.8 percent. Consumer response to those codes-QR codes, Microsoft Tags and other digital watermarks that can be scanned by mobile devices-now exceeds direct mail engagement (4.4 percent response rate).

Catalogs, letters, paid search and e-mail also all fell short of the bar set by digital action codes, while telephone prospecting, though much more costly, is still the most effective marketing tactic.

"Mobile becomes an extension of the magazine," says Roger Matus, executive vice president of Nellymoser. "I think of it as a virtual magazine insert, so instead of putting in extra pages, you're putting in virtual pages the reader can go to for extra content."

Readers who do scan have been accessing this extra virtual content an average of 2.4 times, with typical stays exceeding 10 minutes. All the figures are trending upward though, says Matus.

"The response rate is growing as people become more familiar with [mobile action codes]," he says. "It also grows as people become more familiar with them within the magazine itself. So as a particular magazine runs their first campaign, they've trained some of their readers. Then when it's in the next issue, there are new groups of readers that they train. Usually by the fourth or fifth issue, all the readers know about them and know what to do. We're seeing increased awareness both in the general marketplace and in the individual magazines."

As Matus says, length of the campaign has a definitive impact on reader engagement-so do the total number of scannable codes and the reward offered for scanning.

Magazine issues with 20 or more codes get up to 50-percent more scans per code than those magazines printing fewer than 20 codes. Campaigns leading to shopping or e-commerce had 1.5 times the scans, while those featuring contests or sweepstakes led readers to revisit the site 2.5 to 4 times more often.

Matus says the group is now able to track users from the point of scanning through their various interactions with the mobile site using Nellymoser's Companion App technology.

"If you're using an app from a third party vendor, they can tell you the number of scans, but they can't tell you if the campaign actually completed," he says, admitting that scans from third-party apps went unaccounted for in this study. "Now we can actually match it up to the phone. We can say, this person did this or this person came back. The reason we did this study was that it was the first time we could give a complete picture from the very beginning through to the end." 

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