Why Students Don’t Scan QR Codes in College Marketing

Why Students Don’t Scan QR Codes in College Marketing

QR codes are not popular among the youth demographic and should not be used as an overall indicator of the success of your college marking campaign.

College students are one of the most avid users of smartphones and the technology associated with them, from games and e-mail to Facebook and Instagram. They love using their phones. One marketing trend that has yet to gain their interest, however, are QR codes. One reason for this is that they want instant results or immediate gratification. Many don’t have the QR code scanner technology set up on their phones and it would require the download of an app. Now this might only take a few minutes to complete, but in the mind of a college student who is already well versed with navigating and typing on their smartphones, there’s no need. It’s actually quicker for them to type in the URL address and access the information that way.

Another reason college students don’t scan QR codes is because they don’t have an incentive for doing so. There’s a proliferation of QR codes these days. They’re at bus stops, on billboards, on posters, on products, in books, etc. They have become another part of everyday life, something in the background that barely gets noticed. From a college student’s perspective there needs to be a reason for them to want to scan the QR code, otherwise it’s a waste of their time. They can access the information on their phone through traditional methods or later when they are in front of their computer. The only time QR advertising works is when a discount or coupon is involved. This motivates students into action, for they now see how it benefits them.

With that being said, QR codes aren’t an effective way to measure the success of a college advertising campaign. If your company is advertising to students using a multi-media campaign with a QR component, tracking the number of scans is a poor indicator of whether or not the college marketing strategy is working. Other factors come into play, such as students’ lack of interest in QR codes. They may be engaging with the posters, flyers, billboards, and other marketing components around campus, but then using conventional methods of following up, such as a website. It’s relatively inexpensive to include a QR code in your promotional material for the few students it may reach, but don’t despair if your company is not getting the projected number of scans. It doesn’t mean that your target audience is not being reached; it just means that they don’t like to scan QR codes. QR codes have potential, but when college marketing there are better alternatives.

Interested in learning more, download our College Marketing 101 whitepaper.


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