Summary:

Mobile action codes — including 2D barcodes, QR codes, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Tags and watermarks — became much more prevalent in the top…

Woman scanning QR code
photo: Shutterstock / gualtiero boffi

Mobile action codes — including 2D barcodes, QR codes, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Tags and watermarks — became much more prevalent in the top 100 U.S. magazines in 2011, increasing 439 percent from 352 codes in Q1 to 1,899 codes in Q4.

Mobile marketing and technology company Nellymoser creates these types of ads for magazines and conducted the research, so the company obviously has skin in this game, but its findings are interesting for showing how marketers are changing the ways they use these action codes. (The report doesn’t focus on how well action codes are actually, you know, spurring action but I’ve asked for some follow-up data.) Some findings:

– Mobile action codes are much more likely to be used in ads than in editorial content — the ratio of advertising codes to editorial codes was 25:1 by December 2011. Editorial codes were primarily used to run sweepstakes.

– Most action codes were used to showcase a video (54 percent), often a video created specifically for mobile use. 30 percent were used for data capture and list building, especially sweepstakes. “While sweeps can be run with one action code, there is a growing trend towards sweepstakes that span an entire publication with multiple advertisers and editorial sections participating, each with its own code,” the report says.

– Nearly 40 percent of codes were created by the beauty, home and fashion industries and the codes were especially likely to appear in women’s magazines.

Full report here.

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