Mobile barcoding bridging the gap between Adwords and print ads

Mobile barcoding bridging the gap between Adwords and print ads

The Next Web Blog is fascinated by the revolutionary technique of mobile barcoding, so we’ve written quite a lot about it. In December 2007, guest blogger Polle de Maagt predicted that ShotCodes would join the deadpool pretty soon, we’ve published an outline of the mobile barcoding market and wrote about a really stunning Apple/ Starbucks design mock-up that used mobile barcodes. It’s a hot topic and once again we have some interesting mobile barcoding news for you: Google is exploring the possibilities of Print Ads 2D Barcodes:

Google believes that technology can revolutionize traditional print advertising and make it even more useful for readers. This fits with our commitment to making advertising as useful as possible for the end user. (Google Adwords)

American readers might have noticed newspaper ads for a jewelry retailer consisting of a normal ad with a Google footer. And that’s where it gets interesting, since it includes several connections with the digital media: an URL, search terms, phone number, coupon code, SMS code and there it is, the 2D barcode.

By doing this, Google wants to test possibilities to make ‘print advertising more useful for readers and more measurable for advertisers’. They’re probably referring to the number of barcode ‘clicks’. What will Google’s ambition mean for the mobile barcoding market? We’ve asked Dennis Hettema, founder and creative director of OP3, the Dutch company behind ShotCode.

“This technology is not about advertising but about delivering a compelling message”

Hettema: “I see Google’s mobile barcoding trial as a positive step forward for the mobile barcoding industry. It is imperative that major business-to-consumer (B2C) companies embrace this cool technology and more do so every day. However, I wonder whether Google’s approach is the right one. We have learned from our campaigns with a range of fortune 500 B2C companies (Nike, Coca Cola, Volkswagen amongst others) that this technology is not about advertising but about delivering a compelling message via this medium. If you mess up the message you invariably mess up your campaign. At the moment, Google’s approach is still very advertising focused.”

Dennis Hettema

That’s not the only question Hettema has, he also has his doubts about device compatibility: “As far as I know Google is only running this trial in the US, the amount of compatible devices there are comparable to the range we had about 2 years ago. Looking at our compatibility list today we see that on average 95% of the popular mobile phones used to surf the Internet are ShotCode compatible.
Something that has helped us, the only Dutch player in this market, to launch campaigns all over the world.”

Yet he ends the interview with a positive note. “Whatever way you turn it, there is still a lot to be decided in this market. Experimentation by companies such as Google, Nike and Volkswagen drive the technology forward to become top of mind at advertising agencies and brand managers alike, which is seriously positive news for everyone involved.”

Read next: Using the auctioning madness and Twitter to save lives