The Marketing Bureau

Specialist Marketing & Communications Resourecs



Marketing Study Shocker!

QR Codes & Social Media Have Little Impact for Shoppers

By Ted Mininni
First Published on

“As much as people embrace all things digital, they’re much fussier when they turn into actual shoppers. In fact, QR codes and social media have very little impact, according to new research from Catapult Action-Biased Marketing, a Westport Connecticut-based researcher.” Those are the opening lines of a recent Media Post Marketing Daily article, “Shoppers Spurn Social, QR Codes.”

“Shoppers Spurn Social, QR Codes.”

Wow. So let’s dig deeper. According to Catapult Marketing’s Brian Cohen, digital shopper marketing director, “We looked at 1,200 consumers, and the role that social media is playing is not as large as we thought it would be. It’s a good consumer and advocacy tool, and it builds brand awareness.” But he went on to say that when the consumer’s mind turns to actual shopping, they aren’t tuning into social media. Rather, they are checking out company websites, Internet ratings, and review sites. Especially for big ticket purchases. Well, I think that makes sense.

As for QR codes, Cohen cites the rapid adoption of new technologies by marketers without full consideration of the customer. He points out that many consumers who don’t own iPhones see smart codes and that translates to: “You can’t play” to them. He also states there’s a “fatigue” among iPhone users where QR codes are concerned; interaction with them is down 20%. Besides fatigue, QR codes aren’t always delivering interesting or useful material.

The study revealed two consumer mindsets when engaging with QR codes:

•    Will it save me time?
•    Will it save me money?

Did the research only paint a less-than-rosy picture of digital media? No. If marketers use it intelligently to share tips, ideas, engaging videos, and worthwhile content, it does help build brand awareness.

Research studies like these have value because they reveal important data at specific points in time. Marketers love to adopt new technology but they need to understand how consumers are engaging with it, what works, and what doesn’t. They also need to know whether they’re optimizing each digital tool effectively.

That constitutes value to consumers over and above their need to save time and save money, obviously. But it’s only part of the marketing picture; other tools are necessary to drive actual purchase decisions.

What’s your take on this research? Does it corroborate your own analysis of the effectiveness of social media and QR codes?

Do you think the results of this study point to a need for marketers to rethink their social media strategies?

Do marketers sometimes jump on new technologies too soon without understanding their implications? Or how best to use them?

Are we simply bombarding the consumer to the point of fatigue with all of this? Should we use less but better targeted social media?

I’d love to hear from all of you social media mavens out there on this one!



Ted Mininni is President/Creative Director of Design Force, Inc. He can be reached at 856-810-2277 or online at



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