Microsoft Tags Have a Good March
Growth of the QR code industry is undeniable. New mind-boggling statistics are released with confounding frequency. The most prominent results being reports from Mobio Systems of a 1200% increase in the last half of 2010. This growth is not surprising considering the multitude of applications and the open source nature of the QR code, a tool accessible for free by anyone who wants one. But what of Microsoft's Tag, a proprietary 2D barcode? Is use of the Tag increasing at an equally overwhelming clip?
Microsoft has just released stats regarding its biggest scanning month ever, and while the techno-historical implications of these numbers may not bear the cultural weight of the QR code ones; it is can be assumed that Microsoft Tag campaigns are making money.
Microsoft announced the following:
· March had the greatest number of Tag scans since Tag launched in January 2009, with more than 50 percent more scans than any other month to date.
· The number of scans per month has doubled over the past three months, and the number of users per month has increased 2.5 times in that same timeframe.
· Three billion Tags were printed during the past six months alone, and 5 billion Tags have been printed since Microsoft Tag’s January 2009 launch.
· Publishing continues to lead among top industries adopting Tag, with retail scenarios and entertainment holding the second and third positions, respectively.
Aaron Getz, general manager of Microsoft Tag, states, “Brand adoption and consumer engagement continue to build, with March being our strongest month to date, due to several high-profile, well-executed campaigns. We continue to have tremendous success within publishing and also see increasing usage by retailers, consumer packaged goods companies and movie studios.”
Recent Tag appearances in major publications include: USA TODAY, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and Woman’s Day with USA TODAY and Woman’s Day increasing Tag usage and developing campaigns that span multiple issues.
“We’re adding more Tags across multiple issues as we see increased engagement from our readers,” said Carlos Lamadrid, editor of Woman’s Day. “Most recently, we used Tag for a sweepstakes in March and saw record participation.”
Among the highest profile Tag accounts are Lowe's and Proctor & Gamble. Procter & Gamble Company’s Herbal Essences is using Tag on shelf displays that link to an interactive mobile experience that assists shoppers in selecting the right hair products, while Lowe’s is utilizing the technology on plant tags throughout its Garden Centers.
“Tags have proven to be an extremely efficient means to deliver our customers compelling content and decision tools during the shopping experience,” said Gihad Jawhar, vice president of Lowes.com.
The entertainment industry has also displayed interest in Microsoft Tag. Summit Entertainment LLC and Universal Studios, have used Tag to help promote films by placing Tags on movie ads, posters and packaging that link to movie trailers, interactive mobile games and exclusive content.
Will Tag outrun 'normal' QR codes? Either way, an increase in Microsoft Tag scans is indicative of overall industry growth, and hopefully, of more effective, interactive communication between brands and consumers—a benefit felt by all.