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Newspapers Can Monetize Reviews With QR Codes


A few posts ago, I was writing about how magazines should aggressively promote their articles on products and linking to a mobile website via a QR Code. And then later, I talked about advertisers utilizing these simple codes to monetize their advertisement efforts with instant interaction with their potential customers. Isn’t it obvious that I would move on to newspapers next? :-)

While it’s true that mobile marketing and QR Code usage is still very low in this part of the world, there is evidence that there’s loads more to improve here when we take a look at how the business world has changed in some European and Asian countries. In fact, some experts are exploring ideas on how these newspapers can MAKE MONEY with QR Codes.

OK, here’s the idea. Newspapers run reviews of products all the time – we see it there everyday. If I borrowed a copy of newspaper from someone whom I was sitting next to in the train on the way to work, what would be the best way for me to instantly find information about a book that was reviewed without running off with the copy or purchasing a copy of it? At this point in time, there’s no such option unless I captured an image of it on my phone or wrote down the title, author or ISBN number of the book for future reference. As mentioned, chances of me ever remembering that the book ever existed is close to nil. I would be caught up with the daily grind and the book that I was interested in earlier would never pop into my head again until I see it in the bookstands….if I am lucky.

The swell of QR Code usage is not only beneficial for advertisers, as you will see, because newspapers who make literally nothing out of the product reviews that they print and yet they CAN monetize the reviews instantly.

Let’s adopt a cyber-old tactic that is rampantly on the internet – affiliate marketing. Imagine if along with every review done by the paper, there’s a QR Code underneath it; if a mobile phone user is interested in finding out more information or want to purchase the product, he or she can scan the QR Code and the user will be led to a traceable mobile webpage through an affiliate link. Every purchase made from that affiliate link will make the newspaper some money.

More than forty-two percent of Japanese mobile phone users admit to using the QR Codes that they find alongside advertisements, and this study was done back in 2007. So, your guess is as good as mine as to how many people in the country alone make use of QR Codes in their daily lives.

In my personal opinion, since newspapers face a dim future as the internet explodes, mobile marketing and QR Codes is another way for them to make either a whole load of money via advertisers or the income would supplement the cost of printing such reviews. Either way, it’s best for newspapers to hop onto the bandwagon soon….rather than later.

Consumers, even as you’re reading this, are already buying, reviewing, comparing and sharing prices on their mobile phones using Amazon’s Text to Buy tool. Don’t you think it’s about time a newspaper took this on as well?

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One Response to Newspapers Can Monetize Reviews With QR Codes

  1. Ed Duffy July 27, 2009, 11:40 am

    It can also be “monetized” by providing more value for contributors. I use the codes at the end of columns to direct people to the author’s blog. I get great content, they get more traffic to their website. It’s a better inducement than a simple text credit and much easier to track. Therefore I can attract more talent.

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