Microsoft announced this December that Microsoft Tag now supports Near Field Communications (NFC) and Quick Response (QR) codes. This change comes in response to feedback received from Microsoft Tag users such as marketers and consumers. Most marketers want to be able to use a single creation tool for these technologies. Consumers often get frustrated whenever they have to remember which reader application opens a particular kind of bar code.
In their official blog, Aaron Getz, general manager of Microsoft Tag said, “To help simplify the growing fragmentation currently taking place in the barcode/reader market, today Microsoft Tag is providing support for the two commonly used 2D barcode formats (Tag and QR Codes) and for Near Field Communications (NFC) capabilities. With this extension, brands have the freedom to choose the format most appropriate for their campaigns and give consumers the ease of one reader to use.”
QR Codes created by Microsoft Tag Manager look and function exactly like traditional QR Codes. They can be scanned by other third party applications. The Tag Manager allows users to create and manage NFC URLs for NFC touchpoints as well. Using Microsoft Tag to create QR Codes and NFC URLs has several advantages over creating them through other applications. Like Microsoft Tags, the QR codes and NFC URLs created by the Microsoft Tag manager can easily be updated on the fly, and also include advanced reporting to track the marketing campaign's usage and effectiveness. Advanced reports allow you to view locations and the types of devices your audience uses.
Microsoft Tag's new flexibility in creating and reading Microsoft Tags, QR codes and NFC touchpoints is being embraced by media and marketing corporations such as Meredith, a company involved in television broadcasting, brand licensing, and book and magazine publishing. “One of the strategic reasons we standardized on Tag was to unify the 2D barcode experience for the audience of 80 million women who consume our content,” said Liz Schimel, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of Meredith. “Microsoft Tag gives us the creative freedom to match the right recognition technology to the appropriate mobile experience, and erases customer confusion about which app is needed to launch that experience.”
Microsoft Tag has become an all-in-one creator tool and mobile app for Microsoft Tags, QR Codes and NFC. These marketing strategies can be used separately or together in campaigns to maximize customer engagement. They have different strengths and weaknesses so it is important to be able to choose the appropriate format for a particular marketing campaign. For example, NFC is great in low light, making it the best choice for a poster in a movie theater. However, NFC can currently only be read by NFC-enabled devices. QR Codes are the most universal, but do not allow for as much customization or branding. Microsoft Tags can be customized to match your brand's look and feel, but cannot be read by third party applications. Using the three of them together, or individually depending on your target audience, ensures you have the best tool for your need.
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