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May 19th, 2011

Mobile Codes and Tags: A Sampler

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By now most of us have seen examples of mobile tags/codes in a variety of places. Though they've been around for a few years, lately they seem to be everywhere:  from postcards in our mailboxes or ads in our magazines, to billboards and even museum exhibits. What you might not have realized, though, is that there are several types of mobile tags out there, and they’re not all the same. One of the most common types is a QR Code. A few others include JAGTAGs™, SnapTags™, Microsoft© Tags (also known as MS Tags), EZCodes™ and DataMatrix codes.

How do you choose which one to use?  That really depends on several factors – from how you’re going to use it, to what you want it to look like. With so many options, you should thoroughly research the choices available.  Here is an article that outlines some characteristics of the more common (and a few less common) types of codes available, as well as some of the factors to consider when making your choice. These include:

  • Visual Customization – some codes allow for more customization than others (like using your logo, images, or specific colors within the code itself)
  • Size – how large (or small) will the code appear in your materials? Will the option you choose scan well at that size?
  • Audience– is your audience more likely to have a smart phone or a more basic cell phone? Some codes will only work on smart phones with direct Internet access/a data plan.
  • Cost– some codes are free, and some aren't. The paid versions often provide more flexibility in the content you share through your code and the degree of reporting you get about the actual use of it.
  • Longevity – some options let you “reprogram” the content for a code so that you can keep using the same materials while delivering new information to users over time.
  • Relevance – some codes are offered with the ability to generate variable content that you can customize for outside factors (like the weather!).

Above all, you’ll want to make sure that using a code makes sense for your project. What content will your code deliver? Is it targeted specifically to the message you are communicating, and is it useful for both how and when your end-user will receive it?

Do you have any examples of how you've used mobile codes/tags? How did you choose what type of code to use, and what content did your code deliver to the user?

Tags: Platforms, Software, & Tools

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