Social media has become an inseparable part of society.
Massive networking services like Facebook and Twitter have become popular by connected friends and family. The benefits of social networking have not gone unnoticed in the business world. More companies are opting to boost their online presence through social networking sites in the hopes of capturing the attention of web-going consumers.
Marketers have long used these websites as a way to gain insight on the trends and interests of the Internet crowd. As mobile devices became popular, social networking sites became applications on smart phones. As the sites themselves became mobile, marketers turned to QR codes to gather information on consumers. The codes have already been used is many successful marketing campaigns that have reached thousands. Now, however, companies are becoming increasingly interested in reaching one person at a time.
QR codes are now being used as a GPS-esque tracing technology.
While the concept is not explicitly new as the codes are often attributed to popular locations, allowing visitors to share photos and comments, there is much more that goes on when scanning a code than meets the eye.
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Scanning works two ways. First, the code is deciphered by the QR code reading application on a smart phone. Then, the smart phone’s Internet browser is directed to the location the code is pointing to. The owner of the code can see who scanned it, when and where through a number of analysis platforms and services. These services can be costly, but the price of information is often offset by the fact that marketers can tailor advertising to a particular person.
Such tracking has already been used by People Magazine, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and other publishing companies. As QR codes become more popular, their once altruistic nature is giving way to a much more questionable practice.