Magazine Advertisers’ Use of Mobile Action Codes Reaches New Heights

August 28, 2012

nellymoser-mag-ad-pages-mobile-action-code-mar2011-mar2012-jun20120-aug2012.pngMagazine advertisers’ use of mobile action codes, including all 2D barcodes, QR codes, Microsoft Tags, and watermarks, grew to new heights again in Q2 2012, details Nellymoser in an August 2012 study. The percentage of advertising pages with an action code, perhaps the most accurate measurement of mobile action code adoption, crossed the 10% threshold in May, at 10.4%, before dipping slightly to 10.19% in June. This is roughly double the rate from those months in 2011. The study projects that by September, the percentage of magazine advertising pages with an action code will be at least 12%.

To determine these figures, Nellymoser analyzed the top 100 US magazines by circulation, limiting the study to national titles readily available on newsstands.

Number of Codes Sets New Peak

nellymoser-mags-mobile-action-codes-jan2011-jun2012-aug2012.pngThe total number of action codes in the top 100 US magazines by circulation increased to a new peak of 2200 in Q2 2012, ahead of the 2011 holiday season’s 1899 codes. That 2200 figure also represents a 61% rise from Q1’s 1365, and is more than double the amount (1062) from Q2 2011.

All the magazines in the study ran at least one advertisement during Q2 that included a code, the first time this has happened since the study began tracking mobile action code adoption. Overall, 598 brands ran an ad that included a code, up 33% from 451 in Q1.

QR Codes Still Dominate; Watermarks Make Some Noise

QR codes continued to account for the lion’s share of the magazine action code market in Q2, at 85% share in both April and June, and 75% share in May. Despite that 85% figure being the highest on record, some other codes also made their mark in Q2. Within the “other category” – which ranged from 1-7% market share in Q2 – Digimarc watermarks surged to the lead, accounting for 59 codes in Q2. Although this is still a fraction of the 1790 QR codes from Q2, it is a huge leap from 2011, when just 5 Digimarc watermarks appeared in the entire year.

Video Showcase Still the Most Common Code Use

Showcasing a video (40%) was again the most popular usage for action codes in Q2, up from 35% in Q1. Opt-in/sweeps was the second-most common use in Q2 (19%), followed by social media (18%), buy online (14%), and store locator (12%). Less popular uses included: coupon (7%); photo gallery (5%); downloads (4%); recipes (4%); and voting (1%).

Other Findings:

  • The average number of codes per issue rebounded to 6.07 in Q2, after falling from 6.5 in Q4 2011 to 4.88 in Q1 2012. The median number of codes also rose, back to 5. The largest number of codes in an issue was 51 in Q2, up from 32 in Q1, but down from Q4 2011’s peak of 70.
  • One-quarter of scans resulted in a mobile experience that appeared to not be optimized or designed for mobile use.
  • 49% of all action codes in magazines came from companies in the beauty (360), home (303), health (217), and automotive (195) industries. The number of codes used by the automotive industry more than doubled quarter-over-quarter, from 81 in Q1.
  • Sally Hansen was the top brand in Q2, with 64 codes.
  • In terms of the number of codes per issue, Beter Homes and Gardens led the top magazines with an average of 25, followed by InStyle with an average of 22.
  • 58% of all action codes in Q2 were accompanied by text describing what happens after the scan, down from 64% in Q1. 13% were customized (down from 17%), and 6% were accompanied by an icon, unchanged from the previous quarter. Nellymoser suggests that these trends are an indication of wider acceptance of the codes.
  • More than 85% of the action codes were placed on the bottom half of the page.

About the Data: To compile the data, Nellymoser surveyed and analyzed all of the pages within the top 100 magazines, counting 46,132 total magazine pages.

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