Magazine Advertisers Adopting Mobile Action Codes at Greater Rate

May 16, 2012

nellymoser-mag-ad-pages-with-mobile-action-code-mar2011-mar2012-may2012.jpgMagazine advertisers’ use of mobile action codes, including all 2D barcodes, QR codes, Microsoft Tags, and watermarks, continued to be solid in Q1 2012, according to a May 2012 study from Nellymoser. The percentage of advertising pages with an action code, perhaps the most accurate measurement of mobile action code adoption, remained above 8% each month during Q1 2012, for the first quarter since Nellymoser began tracking this metric in March 2011. The percentage of advertising pages with an action code reached a peak of 8.9% in January, before falling to 8.3% in February and 8.05% in March.

Number of Codes Soars Y-O-Y

nellymoser-mags-mobile-action-codes-jan2011-mar2012-may2012.jpgThe total number of action codes in the top 100 US magazines by circulation jumped to 1365 in Q1 2012, almost quadrupling the 352 from the same period last year. In fact, all magazines in the study, save for one, ran at least one advertisement during Q1 that included a code, with more than 450 brands in total running an ad that included a code.

The total number of action codes fell on a quarterly basis, after reaching 1899 in Q4. Some reasons include: magazines not publishing a January issue; others creating a combined issue spanning December and January (counted as being in December); and advertising pages increasing around the holiday season.

QR Codes Continue to Dominate Market

82% of the action codes printed in the top 100 magazines in March 2012 were QR codes, up from 80% in February and 78% in January. March’s 82% was the highest proportion recorded since Nellymoser began tracking the codes. Microsoft tags accounted for just 12% of all codes in March, while all other codes combined accounted for the remaining 6%. This is a significant change from April 2011, when 53% of the actions codes were QR codes, and 46% were Microsoft Tags.

Video Showcase The Most Common Use

Showcasing a video (35%) remained the most popular usage for action codes in Q1, although this was a drop from 44% in Q4 2011. E-commerce (21%) was next, slightly up from 19% in Q4 2011, followed by opt-in/sweeps (20%), and social media (18%). Other uses included store locator (11%), coupon (8%), photo gallery (7%), and downloads (7%).

Other Findings:

  • The average number of codes per issue dropped from 6.5 in Q4 2011 to 4.88 in Q1 2012. The median number of codes also fell from 5 to 4, as there were fewer large promotions in Q1. Whereas the largest number of codes in an issue was 70 in Q4 2011, that number was 32 in Q1 2012.
  • Roughly 45% of all action codes in magazines came from companies in the beauty, health, home, and fashion industries.
  • None of the top 10 brands for Q1 also appeared in the Q4 list. Turbo Tax was the top brand in Q1, with 21 codes.
  • In terms of the number of codes per issue, the top 10 magazines were primarily women’s magazines and home magazine titles, led by InStyle (18.7).
  • 64% of all action codes in Q1 were accompanied by text describing what happens after the scan. 17% were customized, and 6% were accompanied by an icon.
  • More than 85% of the action codes were placed on the bottom half of the page.

About the Data: Nellymoser studied the top 100 US magazines by circulation, limiting the study to national titles readily available on newsstands. To compile the data, Nellymoser surveyed and analyzed all of the pages within the top 100 magazines, counting 38,719 total magazine pages and 15,691 total advertising pages.

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