Best Practice for Collecting QR Code “Scan” Metrics Off QR Codes Using Google Analytics

Mobile Barcode Metrics

There are many different techniques to collecting click and scan metrics off of mobile barcodes.  Most of them involve URL-shorteners, which I am not too fond of.   Most of the URL-Shorteners offer a report spam functionality, which means anyone may report your broken link as spam, and ruin an entire QR Code campaign.




Straight out of the FAQ:


“My site keeps getting flagged as spam – but it’s not! What’s going on?

We have a huge stream of people and companies that report offending sites or sites that appear as spam. We respond aggressively to these reports, to avoid the spread of viruses and spam – but we are rarely the ones to flag your content as questionable. bitly strictly shortens URLs and points to sites in a 301 redirect – we host no actual content. If you end up on the bad side of company that funnels data to us (reporting your site as spam/rogue content), you may consistently get flagged. Please investigate who objects to your content, so you can request that they stop flagging you.” FAQ


Do you trust your competition or a malicious, dissatisfied  customer to not mess with your campaign if they knew they had the chance?  If it’s a QR campaign, that means there’s all that print cost and no chance of repairing the damage done to all the circulated collateral.


Best practice for collecting metrics on QR Codes

  1. Implement Google Analytics.  Google Analytics is a free and useful tool.  If you do not already have it, sign up!
  2. Add Google Analytic codes to the URL for the mobile barcode.  Make sure “QR” is contained, and feel free to give more detailed information such as “PC” for postcard, “BC” for business card or “BRO” for brochure.  Try to keep it short, the longer the URL the larger a QR Code has to be.
  3. Create the barcode  There are many free QR Code generators available.


Metrics inside of Google Analytics

Inside Google Analytics a new traffic source ‘campaigns’ will become available.  The campaigns metrics will show what percent of traffic was driven through campaigns.  The campaign traffic source may be segmented by different campaigns.  If this is being leveraged for collecting QR Code metrics, then the different campaigns would represent different barcodes, depending on how the URLs were tagged.


URL-Shorteners can hide malicious things

There are other benefits to using URL-tagging instead of URL-shorteners other than security.  Affiliate marketers hide their tags with URL-shorteners and hackers can hide malicious links.  Because of reasons such as these, some individuals may not trust links hidden behind shortened URLs.  When tagging URLs instead of shortening them, the branding of the link is consistent to the companies domain and there is no confusion on the end of the recipient.  Any extensions from the URL will give the recipient an idea of the content behind the landing page of the code.