Do QR Codes on Websites Actually Work?

Do QR Codes on Websites Actually Work?

Every company with a mobile app faces the same problem: How do you get someone visiting your website on their computer to download an app on their phone?

It takes work for someone browsing on their computer to pull out their phone, open an app store, search the app store for an app, download and install it. Smart brands do everything in their power to reduce that friction.

At DoWhatWorks we’ve detected and analyzed thousands of experiments from the world’s top brands. We see many companies testing ways to reduce the friction of downloading an app.

One approach gaining momentum is to use QR codes. But does it actually work?

As a service to the growth community, we share results below.

How to use QR codes to generate app downloads

QR Codes help reduce the friction of getting information on your phone.

Thanks to the Covid pandemic, the world received a crash course in using QR codes. For example, anyone who wanted to access a menu at a restaurant quickly learned how to aim their camera phone at a QR code to get a menu.

In 2022 we saw marketers leverage this insight to help bridge the gap from computer screen to mobile phone. For example, Robinhood added the QR code as a secondary CTA on their website header as a split test. The variants looked as follows:

Which do you think won?

Answer: The variant with QR codes lost.

You might be thinking, “well, that is just one split test for one company. It might work for others”. So we took a look.

Do website QR codes work at driving app downloads?

The idea of QR codes seems quite cool. Sadly, it has consistently lost throughout 2022.

Our engine detected a similar test run by GoDaddy.

Like RobinHood, they added the QR code while keeping the original CTA as well.

The version with the QR code also lost.

Finally, we saw a similar test run by Venmo, although they replaced the entire primary CTA with a QR code.

The QR code lost again.

We are following this trend closely. As more tests come in, we will help our customers understand where it works and doesn’t.

Right now we encourage the growth community to spend their precious time testing other things.

We are seeing many other techniques tested that appear way more fruitful. Feel free to reach out if you want to learn from tests that others have run, so you can accelerate your process and get a head start in your optimization.