In October, PW looked at publishing and QR codes, those little squares that appear on advertisements and look a lot like barcodes. While publishers are still figuring out how best to utilize that technology, they’ll have to make room for the next step in scannable code technology: SnapTags.
SnapTags work the same way as QR codes. They’re both codes that deliver content to your phone when you access their technology. The difference (aside from the fact that SnapTags can include brand images because the scannable area is significantly smaller than a QR code) is that while you need a QR reader app on your phone to scan a QR code for its content, SnapTags, which have an app option, can be accessed by a camera phone with picture messaging capabilities.
Reach and accessibility are the factors that SpyderLynk, the mobile activation and marketing platform company behind SnapTags, is touting, noting that 88% of mobile phones in the market can access SnapTags. The other benefit of SnapTags is that the content provided is more versatile. While QR codes typically take you to a Web site (and thus require mobile Web access), SnapTags, according to SpyderLynk’s founder and CEO Nicole Skogg, offer a multichannel marketing platform that sends messages to your phone, enabling companies to develop campaigns to deliver sweepstakes, free samples, video, and more.
The first book to use a SnapTag is Jeffrey W. Hayzlett’s Running the Gauntlet: Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change, and Grow Profits (McGraw-Hill, Jan.), In Running the Gauntlet, a SnapTag is placed at the beginning of each of the book’s 35 chapters, which send videos directly to one’s phone that feature Hayzlett explaining the core concept in the chapter.
So far, magazine publishers have harnessed SnapTags more effectively than book publishers. Skogg, citing the potential of the technology, mentioned the Social SnapTag program used in the September issue of Glamour. SnapTags were placed throughout the issue’s editorial and advertising pages, encouraging and enabling consumers to join brands’ social networks. The codes were activated by more than 100,000 readers and, on the whole, readers interacted with the issue via Social SnapTags 512,339 times—“whether that meant scanning the codes with an app, taking a photo and sending it in, or taking subsequent actions such as agreeing to ‘like’ an advertiser or article, signing up for the deal or sweepstakes being offered, or sharing the offer with friends,” said Skogg. “What made this program different [from QR codes] was that it was very focused on the value exchange: what’s in it for the consumer and what’s in it for the brands. Too many QR code programs are only focused on what’s in it for the marketer.”
SpyderLynk is hoping book publishers catch up to their magazine colleagues soon. Author Chuck Martin has started using SnapTags in promotional efforts for his book, The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile. “We are excited about collaborating with more publishers to see how SnapTags can impact the publishing model to bring more interactivity to books,” Skogg said.