How to Track a QR Code

QR codes are easy to spot, give viewers a clear call-to-action and can give you a glimpse into the effectiveness of the placement of the printed material. A quick estimation from various sources is that 20-30% of the general public have scanned a QR code with only a small fraction of that using them daily. QR Scanning apps are reporting tens of millions of scans per year, so there is reason to believe these odd looking data logos will be around for quite some time. Here’s how to put them work for you.

Create a Trackable QR Code

We’ll assume Google Analytics, but similar rules should apply to any tracking solution.
  1. Create a tracking URL at Google
  2. Shorten the URL (preferred for better QR readability) Note: There are many shortener services, but they can vary in speed and reliability. If you need to keep your URL private, Google may not be for you. But for ease, speed and reliability, it’s a no brainer.
  3. Test on screen and paper.
  4. Wait for the results to show up in your GA account before sending to print. If you use the Google shortener, it will also provide tracking results.

Make a Vector QR Code

Since this is going to print, you’ll want a vector version. Several of the sign-up QR code services will give you a print ready version, but if you’re handy with Adobe Creative Cloud tools, the following will do the trick.
  1. Scale the small PNG from Google up using Image Size in Photoshop (to say 12″x12″) with “Nearest Neighbor (preserve hard edges)” selected as the Resample Image type.
  2. Run it through Image Trace in Illustrator. After it’s vector, test it on different devices / apps. Remember, those little boxes and lines make all the difference, so any distortion could ruin the function.

What Size Should a Printed QR Code Be?

A good rule of thumb is 10:1. For every square inch the QR is, the viewer could scan from 10 inches away. So, a 4″x4″ QR code could be scanned about 3 feet away. This could vary depending on how complex your QR code is, so it’s best to test as widely as possible.

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