QR Codes: A Social Experiment at SMX

Michael Wiegand Jun 23 2011

A few weeks ago at SMX, I wanted to try something. I was too busy to order business cards in the weeks leading up to the conference. And in lieu of taking generic company cards to the show, I figured I’d make a QR code for folks to scan.
Will people scan this QR Code?

QR Code Destination

At a conference chock full of smartphones, at least half the people there would have the capability to scan it. I’d link it to a bit.ly bundle with a link to my Twitter profile, and some links to various things I’ve written on blogs:

QR Codes

My new business card.

When schmoozing at these types of events, I’m a quality-over-quantity guy anyway. What surprised me is not only how many people scanned it – out of the folks I met – but how many people actually took a minute to download an application to scan it. Out of the people I connected with at the show, 66% of them scanned my QR code. 40% of the folks who scanned it had an app ready, but a remarkable 60% actually downloaded an app on their iPhone or Droid device to┬áscan it.

QR Code Results

So what’s the takeaway here? QR codes may not take the world by storm, but there’s enough of a novelty factor there to make them a useful way to connect with people. Picked up a fair amount of chatter when I talked about QR codes on the #SMX hashtag during the show:

Not only will the bit.ly bundle be there for future reference on their phones, but the process of downloading the app will trigger their memory:

The nice piece about using the bit.ly bundle too is that I can swap the content out and re-use the QR code at the next conference!

Create Your Own Bit.ly Bundle and QR Code

So how did I create my QR code? Bit.ly did it for me, really.

To create the bundle, start with a series of links you want to shorten and click “Bundle”:


When the bundle is created, tailor it with a nice title and description – not like this one:


Back out at the bit.ly dashboard, click on the “Info Page+” for the new bundle you’ve created:


On the ensuing page, you’ll get a thumbnail link to your shiny new QR code. Print it out, trim it down to size and slip it in the back of your next conference badge.

bit.ly QR Code

tags : qr codesmxSocial experimentSocial Media