Mobile Action Codes: Image Recognition and Augmented Reality Emerging
April 2013 -- The number of mobile action codes -- QR codes, digital watermarks, image recognition and other types -- has grown dramatically in the past 2 years, reports mobile engagement services company Nellymoser.
Over a two-year period beginning in January 2011, the total number of interactive codes featured in print increased from a monthly total of 88 to a count of 1,143 in December 2012.
Interestingly, in 2012 Nellymoser found a full one-third of activations were not optimized for the mobile experience.
For their 2012 analysis, Nellymoser surveyed the top 100 U.S. national magazines by circulation, analyzing over 173,000 magazine pages featuring 75,000+ total advertising pages. The firm activated every trigger, augmented reality experience, or other mobile activation code found with an iPhone or Android device. From there, Nellymoser ran every campaign, watched every video and visited every web page.
NEARLY ONE IN 10 ADS FEATURE ACTION CODES
- Nearly 10% of print advertisements studied contained some form of mobile activation in 2012.
- In total, 2012 saw 8,448 mobile activations printed in the magazine pages examined; the number of interactive codes featured in print hit an all-time high of 1,312 in the month of September 2012.
- Of these triggers, 6,962 appeared on advertising pages, 1,486 on editorial. The most represented industries were Beauty (1,085), Home (887), Health (697), Fashion (631), and Automotive (440), reiterating previous studies.
IMAGE RECOGNITION AND AUGMENTED REALITY GAINING GROUND
- QR continues to dominate the market with 68% share of activations; this represents a decrease from a high of 80% share to as image-based activations gain in popularity.
- Image-based activation is attracting interest in magazines as they do not require any change in the image itself or the pre-production process, as other mobile action codes do; 2012 saw the arrival and expansion of print-to-mobile triggers using image recognition and watermarking to invisibly trigger a mobile experience (e.g. Aurasma, NetPage, and Digimarc).
- Digimarc watermarks enable publishers to create custom branded icons that match the look and feel of the brand instead of QR codes' Digimarc triggers rose from a total of 36 in Q1 to 321 in Q4, peaking at 362 in Q3. Digimarc.
- Augmented reality for the first time has become a strong presence, comprising almost 10% of all mobile activation points.
- Magazine-specific scanning apps, such as those published by Lucky, Seventeen, GQ, Teen Vogue, Brides, Popular Science, and Maxim, were released by 12% of the Top 100.
HOW ACTION CODES ARE USED
In contrast to 2011, where magazine readers were often sent to a web site after scanning a code, in 2012 more advertisers created engaging mobile experiences.
- Branding via video remains tops (33%) offering experiences such as product demos, entertaining clips, or behind the scenes looks; 8% of action codes linked directly to a YouTube video or channel.
- Social media sharing with links to Facebook and Twitter accounted for 14% of actions.
- Data capture and list building via sweepstakes remains an important use (9%).
- Another 1% of activations would not scan or contained bad links; 2% linked to a download; 8% contained opt-ins.
ONE-THIRD OF ACTIVATIONS NOT OPTIMIZED FOR MOBILE
- Almost all scans resulted in an experience that was technically viewable on a mobile phone, yet a full one-third (33%) of activations were not optimized.
Source: Nellymoser, Print to Mobile Sees Emergence of Image Recognition and Augmented Reality in 2012, April 10, 2013.