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Tracking QR Codes in Google Analytics — Easy as Pie.

Sometimes the simplest things go unnoticed. Recently, a client informed me that they were going to start including QR codes in their print marketing and did I know of a good tracking program. About half an hour into researching the right solution for them, I had an epiphany/head-meet-desk moment when I realized that they were already hooked up with GA and could easily track a QR campaign in their existing account. Here’s how!

Google Analytics URL Creator

Thoughtfully, Google provides a fool-proof way of creating unique urls with urchin tracking modules (or UTM) parameters appended to the URL so that you can track the QR campaign in Google Analytics. Here’s a screen shot of the setup:

Google-URL-Generator

Now shorten that LONG URL

After you create the URL, plug it into your favorite URL shortener. Why should I? You may ask. It’s true, it does add another step to the process, but it’ll be well worth your while. See, the more characters a url has, the more information needs to be embedded in the QR Code. This means that the actual QR Code ends up being much more dense, for lack of a better word. That means it’ll be harder for a mobile device to scan it.

When you’re making QR codes for print advertising purposes, it’s likely that that QR Code isn’t going to take up much real estate. That makes this denseness issue even more important. Plus, using a URL shortener like Bit.ly is super quick and easy.

Dense, hard to scan QR Code

Open, Easy To Scan QR Code

That Shortened URL Into Your Favorite QR Code Generator!

I like to use QRSTUFF because you can download hi res versions of the QR Code that will print nicely. Save the file and give it to your publisher and every time someone scans that flier you will be able to sort by Campaign in Google Analytics.

http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2011/08/18/tracking-qr-codes-google-anaytics/

46 Responses to “Tracking QR Codes in Google Analytics — Easy as Pie.”

Hannes says:

Great post. Easy and well explained!

Reheen Guin says:

The URL shortener is a brilliant idea for QR code setup and tracking

Also worth taking a look at Google’s own shortener http://goo.gl/ which makes the QR code for you. If only it also did the GA tagging!

Just after I posted that last comment, Techpad Tweeted a link to a tool they had built for adding the tags and creating the QR code. But I don’t think it includes shortening, so the point about the benefits of shortening the URL still apply. http://techpad.co.uk/custom/tools/qr_code_generator.php

Christina Keffer Christina Keffer says:

Thanks for the kudos everyone! Tim, great link to the techpad tool. Will be adding that to my toolkit.

Germán Frassa says:

Actually, Bit.ly even automatically creates a QR code for every URL it shortens. You can find it by adding “.qrcode” at the end of the shortened URL, for example: http://bit.ly/palcodigital.qrcode. Additionally, the usual “+” Bit.ly stats page for each shortened URL (in this case, https://bitly.com/palcodigital+) offers referral stats at a glance.

Alex says:

I use free version of http://tagomobile.com for qr code tracking. Also you are able to reallocate qr code link at any time.

Eivind Savio says:

Sorry for dropping links to my own site, but since my tagging too includes URL shortening and QR codes, I hope it is OK.

savio.no/blogg/a/82/google-analytics-campaign-url-builder-with-short-url-and-twitter-postingcampaign

physio says:

I’d like to track QR codes that point to my mobile Google Places page. This method won’t work for that since my Analytics script isn’t on that page. Do you have any suggestions for how to track these effectively?

I use goo.gl url shortener to make short URLs for the QR codes but their tracking is limited at best.

Thanks for any ideas.

physio

Gabriela H says:

I have QR codes that shows .mp4 videos. It is uploaded to a library on our website but doesn’t show on a page. I have followed your instruction but I can’t see the statistics in Google Analytics. Do I have to do something i Analytics so it shows? Or does it only track links to pages on the website?

I will be very grateful for your help :-)

Have a nice day!
Gabriela

Ajay says:

Can you track QR codes which do not have a link to a webpage but has text embedded in it

qr codes says:

Hi, have you tryied uqr.me? Is one of the best qr code generator world wide… Permit to link to urls, files, a full customizable mobile ready page, a paypal payment, a vCard and they permit to beautify your QR with rounded corners, gradients, centered image etc..

Thanks for some other great article. The place else may just anybody get that type of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the look for such info.

Armando says:

Well explained. Thanks for the post. Google URL creator is a tool that can be used not only for tracking QR codes but for any link you want to analyse.

Lee Hu says:

I’m a Realtor, and I track webpage visits to each property listing that I have in google analytics. I also now have the qr codes for each property that I would also like to track. I can’t figure out how to merge the two together to get one report in one location google/analytics).

sarah says:

Hi Lunametrics,
I was able to create a qr code with the google snippet following your instructions… The code links to a specific page on the site and that’s what i want to track.

my problem is with the analytics side of things.

I’ve created an account with GA beta and it has given me a tracking code to install on each page of the website. The problem is that 1) i don’t want to track the website per se, and 2) the wordpress theme doesn’t allow customization of the header – i read through some GA forum posts. Should i create the account again and use code generated by the URL Builder? Any suggestions would be welcome – i’m new to this stuff!

Thanks – I was completely lost until I read this blog – easy as pie

David Martin says:

i actually made a script that makes all this easier, a;;though generally it follows your process just fill out a form and its does the rest qr-tracking.net/ I dont make any cash out if it as its more of a toy so its not an advert, you can also output to svg or eps for use in illustrator etc.

JustMe says:

You have to excuse my english.So what I’m trying to learn is for example if a QR code appears on a website at a certain hour how can I track it without having to searcj all those pages on that website.Is there a program for tracking QR codes on websites?Just enter the url and it shows the qr code.I would really appreciate your help.Thanks!

I?ve learn several good stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot attempt you set to create this type of wonderful informative website.

Sussan says:

I use tagomobile.com to manage and track my QR codes, easy & very professional. Love it!

Eura Nolette says:

Hello visit FreebiesStore[.]net to get the same for free.

Marsha Wesselman says:

You can give me morning head all you like BK.no eye contact.

It’s important to note that QR Codes are not the only way to connect offline to online. A comprehensive mobile marketing strategy would also contain the following options to connect the consumer to a mobile experience in their mobile:- SMS- Email- PhoneAlso it’s important to understand that mobile internet usage is much different than PC internet usage. Once you get them from the physical paper (or sign) into your mobile experience, make sure the experience is thought through for mobile.I keep seeing QR codes misused in the Real Estate industry ( and others ). Whatever you do, don’t point the code to a website that’s meant to be shown in a big screen !

Chris says:

Ok… But once I thru those steps and generate the QR code; how do I actually track in in my google analytics account?

Christie says:

I’m wondering the same thing as Chris. Now that I have my QR code, how do I track the results???

Brandon says:

Now that I have made my QR code, how do I set it up in Google Analytics to track it?

Abhilash says:

Great post…

David says:

Am in midst of pitching our first QR code print media ad campaign to a large company for a certain product.Happy to say they seem interested and pleased with the idea, but have asked how they can calculate their return on investment, so as to calculate and justify the cost of our services, ie % of sales, most probably? Have asked how accurate are analytics to give them a month to month figure on how the code has increased online sales, or not? What is the best way to present the efficiency and accuracy of analytics, or any other form of tracking you may suggest to answer their question pls in our next meeting so as to clinch this campaign? Thank you.

Dan says:

The downside to free QR code generators is you can’t change the information in the QR code once it has been created and printed. The upside to paid services like http://www.myQRad.com is that you can change your QR code content or what it links to without changing the code itself. It’s like insurance in case your QR code has a shelf life and a year from now you decide you want to show something different when it’s scanned.

Nick says:

Great post! You should give tagginn.com a try! You can get a free membership for creating, Editing and Tracking your QR Code campaigns. Yes, Editing your codes for free! Hope you like it… Lot’s of features available.

eugene says:

I’m a Realtor, and I track webpage visits to each property listing that I have in google analytics. I also now have the qr codes for each property that I would also like to track. I can’t figure out how to merge the two together to get one report in one location google/analytics).

eugene says:

I’m a Realtor, and I track webpage visits to each property listing that I have in google analytics. I also now have the qr codes for each property that I would also like to track. I can’t figure out how to merge the two together to get one report in one location google/analytics).just contact creditcard_98@yahoo.com

Corina says:

Very helpful and explained well. Thank you!

Connie says:

I have been creating QR codes for print ads that take the scanner to a video on YouTube. I tried to set the URL that it linked to the QR code in Google Analytics…but it said that the URL can’t have a query in it.

Is there any way to track these QR codes? i create a new one for each new print ad to see which pubs are generating views…but I can’t figure out how to track them. Please Help!

Hey Connie!

You absolutely can track QR codes, in several ways. If you’re going to be directing that person to YouTube, you’ve got a problem – you don’t have any Google Analytics capabilities on someone elses site. That’s why your campaign parameters are throwing an error. Don’t worry, though, there’s two solutions to you problem.

The first is to just take the link to your YouTube video and put it through bit.ly. Then copy the link bitly gives you into a spreadsheet along with information regarding the QR Codes contents and placement for later. To see how many have clicked (scanned) the link, simply copy the link and append a ‘+’ at the end of it – like this: bit.ly/example+ – and it will show you statistics about your link, like the number of clicks, when it was clicked etc. Unfortunately you won’t be able to get any hard data about what those people did after they scanned the link, but that’s the price you pay for directing them to a 3rd party hosting service!

Alternatively, you could embed the video into your site and direct people to that page. Note that this is only really effective if your site is optimized for mobile, as otherwise most users will probably bounce off the page as soon as they realize the page is loading in a desktop format. This method, however, would allow you to append campaign parameters to the URL you encode and then be able to view information about the visit and the visitor in your Google Analytics account.

Hope this helps!

Dan

goturl.net says:

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Roman says:

For simple marketing QR Codes, a shortener like bit.ly or goo.gl are good ways to track.

If you are selling products using QR Codes, like Tesco and Walmart, you can also link QR Code tracking to your Google Analytics eCommerce and even get advanced (geo)statistics.

See an example here:
http://www.shop2mobi.com/features/

pelister says:

I myself wrote a QR generator for yourls – a url shortener – which already has tracking feature.
Now you can have your own url shortener with qrcodes.

Niffty says:

One thing I am not clear on, I have created a URL using google URL builder, then shortened the url to use for a QRcode. We have google analytic’s installed on our website but does it automatically track the QRcode use or does the website analytic’s need editing.

Rene says:

Hi Christina,

there is another option to track Qr Codes. You can use a shortener service like goo.gl and use that integrated analytic function. So i created a qr code generator that does all that with one click. No need to registration. Maybe you wanna try out http://www.qrcode-generator24.com

Regards, René

richiarde says:

Here is another that kind of QR Code generator:
http://www.onbarcode.com/vb_net/qr-code-generator.html

Nolan says:

Our website allows for simple QR code creation and our analytics dashboard allows you to track metrics such as total scans, location, time of scans, devices used and more.

Give it a look: http://qreateandtrack.com/features/measure-qr-code-success/

Steve Baker says:

There are certain QR Code trackers on the internet offering all in one solutions. QR Code creation, management, tracking, dynamic links and so on. My favorite one is qrtrack.de which is for free.

Christina, thank you for sharing the tips on qr code tracking with Google Analytics. Are you planning to write another article this year, taking in consideration all new Google Analytics features?