How to Use QR Codes on Billboards Effectively

Attracting your target audience's attention is becoming increasingly challenging as our societies incline more towards digital interfaces. Billboard QR codes come as a boon, linking your outdoor ad to a detailed and immersive online experience

They provide an interaction element, allowing users equipped with only a phone camera to access deeper web-based content linked to your advertisement.

Let's explore how to use QR codes on billboards effectively together!  

Can You Put a QR Code on a Billboard?

One of the most common questions that advertisers and marketers contemplate is whether they can put a QR code on a billboard.

The answer is a resounding yes. But it's not merely about slapping a QR code on a huge billboard; it involves a deeper strategic plan.

The strategic planning for placing a QR code on your billboard comprises several angles:

  • Audience Convenience: Always consider your audience's comfort. When placed too high or too obscurely, the QR code might just end up being ignored because it's just too much work. The code should be at an eye-pleasing level, and ideally placed in high foot-traffic areas to maximize visibility.
  • Billboard Location: The location of your billboard plays a significant role. If it's roadside, do realize that people won't stop their cars to scan a code. However, if it's at a station or a waiting area where people can easily scan the code, you're good to go.
  • Weather Resilience: Outdoor billboards are subject to weather conditions like rain, sun, and snow, which can impede the scanability of your QR code. Using durable materials for printing the QR can help avoid such mishaps.
  • Seamlessness with Design: While a QR code on your billboard is functional, it should also be treated as an element within the ad's design. It has to complement the graphics and message on your billboard while still standing out enough to be noticeable.

How to Use a QR Code on a Billboard

Alright, so you've decided to use a QR code for your billboard ad campaign, and you know the factors that can affect its visibility and scanability. But what's the next step? How exactly do you integrate the QR code effectively in your billboard to ensure maximum scans and interactions? Let's break it all down step by step.

Choosing the Right QR Code for Your Billboard

You've probably seen various types of QR codes – simple, colorful, plain, and intricate. The sheer variety is incredible. But it's essential to understand that not all QR codes are created equal. Different types serve different purposes.

Some common types of QR codes include:

  • URL QR code: This is the most common type. It takes the user straight to a webpage after scanning the code.
  • Plain text QR code: This displays plain, simple text after being scanned. It might be useful for short, concise messages.
  • Email QR code: This opens an email draft to a specific address after scanning. It can be effective for collecting customer feedback.
  • SMS QR code: After scanning, the user's device readies an SMS to a specific number.

For billboard campaigns, URL QR codes are usually the best choice. Creating one is straightforward using online QR code generators. Remember to include UTM parameters in your URLs to track traffic from the billboard.

The Correct Size and Position for a QR Code on A Billboard

As discussed before, there's a fine balance in determining the ideal size of the QR code. A rule of thumb is that the QR code should make up at least 10% of the billboard surface area to be easily scannable at a close range.

When placing the QR code, the bottom right corner of the billboard is usually a good starting point because we tend to read from left to right, so it's at a common ending point of gaze.

However, this isn't a hard and fast rule. Experiment with positions, but always ensure that the code neither disrupts the overall design nor is tucked away in an obscured corner.

Dos and Don'ts While Placing QR Codes on Billboards

Here are some quick tips and

  • Do have a clear call-to-action (CTA): Simply having a QR code plastered on your billboard isn't enough. Have a compelling CTA adjacent to the code to entice potential scanners. Let them know what they're getting. Are they getting discounts? Exclusive content? More information?
  • Don't overcrowd your billboard design: A busy, cluttered design might draw attention away from your QR code. Keep design elements balanced to ensure the QR code is noticeable.

By navigating these steps carefully, you're well on your way to effectively using QR codes on your advertising billboards and unlocking new engagement levels with potential customers.

Advantages of Using QR codes on Billboards

Now that we know QR codes can be added to billboards and how to do so let's dive into some advantages of this innovative union of traditional and digital marketing.

Interaction with Potential Customers

Nothing draws a customer more than the ability to interact directly with the brand and the promise of value. A QR code on your billboard isn't just a funky square pattern; it's a portal to a personalized web experience. Here's how:

  • Better Engagement: Upon scanning, users could find themselves on a landing page with engaging multimedia content, discount coupons, exclusive products, or even a fun interactive game – all these make for far better engagement than a static billboard.
  • Contactless Interaction: In the prevailing times, this phrase carries a significant weight. QR Codes are a perfect tool for touch-free information sharing.

Gathering Data from Scans for Analytics and Future Campaigns

One might think that a QR code scan merely directs the user to a website or a video. But behind the scenes, it provides invaluable data for marketers.

  • User Analytics: Each scan can provide data like the scanning device, time of the scan, and even user location if permissions are granted. This data can help analyze user behavior and demographic information.
  • Campaign Performance: By analyzing the scan data and the corresponding user actions, you can gauge the campaign's performance and potential areas of improvement.

Seamless Integration with the Digital World

QR Codes on billboards beautifully address the traditional-to-digital advertisement transition problem. Your potential customers don't need to remember a URL or manually type it in; they just scan and go.

  • Quick and Convenient: Scanning the code takes your potential customers to the online content without disrupting their engagement.
  • Consistent Branding: The brand identity remains consistent by directing scanners to branded web platforms.

Factors Affecting the Visibility and Scanability of a QR Code on a Billboard

The inclusion of a QR code in your billboard is an art and science in itself. It's not as simple as printing out a code and sticking it on the billboard; various pivotal factors would significantly impact your code's visibility and scalability.

1. Size of the QR Code

Size does matter when it comes to QR codes on billboards. If your code is too small, it will be hard for smartphones to pick it up, especially from a distance.

Conversely, if it's huge, it might impede your billboard's overall design and message. So, it's crucial to find that sweet spot where your QR code is large enough to be scanned by smartphones from afar and yet doesn't compromise the aesthetic of your billboard design.

2. Contrast and Color

Yes, you could get creative with your QR codes, but never at the expense of their primary purpose, which is to get scanned. When deciding on the color scheme for your QR codes, always go for contrasting colors. An inadequate contrast or a wrong combination could result in poor smartphone detection. Typically, a black QR code against a white background is a safe bet.

3. Location

While determining the location of your QR codes on billboards, two things should be kept in mind: visibility and aesthetics. Placing the code in an obscure corner would do no good. It needs to be placed where it's visible without having to squint, ensuring easy access for scanning. However, at the same time, it should blend seamlessly with the design of your billboard and not stick out like a sore thumb.

4. Distance

Given that billboards are designed to be viewed from a distance, the distance from where you are scanning is definitely a factor. The factors above, size, contrast, and location, are critical here since they affect the readability of the QR code from different distances.

5. Clarity of QR Code

A QR Code is essentially made of tiny squares, and these need to be clear if the smartphone camera lens is to pick them up. Hence, ensure that the QR code is printed with high resolution and clarity for smooth scanning.

Remember, the idea behind having a QR code on your billboard is to simplify your potential customer's life. The easier it is to scan your code and access your content, the more successful your ad campaign will be.

Application of QR Codes in Various Industries

The benefits of QR codes on billboards aren't confined to any specific industry. To give you a better sense of how versatile and impactful these codes can be, let's look at their use in various sectors:

  • Retail: Retailers can use billboard QR codes to offer exclusive discounts or launch new products. It results in immediate customer engagement.
  • Real Estate: Scan the code and land directly on a virtual property tour. It enhances the customer experience and attracts more potential buyers.
  • Restaurants: A QR code on a billboard can lead to online menus, reservation platforms, or special offers.
  • Events and Entertainment: People can scan the QR code to view trailers, book tickets, or even download music.
As you can see, the advantages of using QR codes on billboards are far-reaching. But as usual, the key is in executing it right and adapting to the tech-savvy habits of your audience.

Best Practices of QR Codes on Billboards

While we have covered the basics of how to use a QR code on a billboard and the advantages that come along with it, it's equally important to be aware of the best practices in this domain.

Everything from creating the QR code to the content it leads to matters in making your billboard a success story.

Choosing the Right QR Code Generator

The first step in your quest to integrate QR codes in your billboard advertising involves picking the right QR code generator tool. There are many available tools with various features:

  • Customizable Design: Go for a generator that allows for some level of customization that you can match with your branding.
  • Dynamic QR Codes: These allow for changing linked content without changing the code. Ideal for sustained ad campaigns.
  • Analytics: Pick a generator that provides decent scan-related analytics.

You can use QRCodeDynamic to create static and dynamic QR codes for your billboards.

Eye-catching and Clear Call-to-Actions (CTAs)

Your QR code shouldn't be the only part of your billboard working hard. Pair it with a strong, clear, and concise CTA to give your audience a reason to take their phones out and scan the code.

Mobile Optimized Content

It's important to remember that mobile devices will scan QR codes. So, ensure that the content they are linked to is optimized for mobile viewing for a seamless user experience.

Testing Before Going Live

Before you go ahead and print that giant billboard:

  • Take the time to thoroughly test it out.
  • Check the readability of the QR code from various distances and angles.
  • Ensure that the linked content renders correctly on different mobile devices.

Clear and Uncluttered Design

While this might seem like a no-brainer, many advertisers make the fatal mistake of cluttering their billboards with too much text or graphics. An overcomplicated billboard with a QR code can confuse the audience and deter them from scanning it.

Learning from Success Stories

There have been several successful QR code billboard campaigns over the years. Analyzing them could provide insights for your campaign. You can learn about the effective size, placement, design, and content that can attract audiences and compel them to scan the QR code on the billboard.

Take, for example, the successful campaigns of biggies like Spotify and Snapchat. They have leveraged QR codes effectively to enable effortless user interaction with their ads, driving engagement and conversions.


As we reach the end of this guide, we hope to have made a convincing case for the potential of QR codes on billboards and provided some practical advice for integrating them into your advertising strategy.

The art of placing a QR code on a billboard isn't about simply printing the code and slapping it onto an advertisement. It's a carefully strategized approach that encompasses understanding the right size, contrast, and location for the code on the billboard, and the behavior of the target audience.

Achieving this balance could open the doors to incredible customer engagement and an effective transition to digitized marketing for your audience with relative ease.

Finally, to say that QR codes on billboards are a significant marketing strategy would be an understatement.


Does the design of a billboard QR code matter?

While a standard black and white QR code works just fine, customizing the QR code to match your brand style can enhance the overall design. Remember, visibility and easy scanability should be your top priority.

How can I track the performance of my billboard QR code?

Most QR code generators offer tracking features, providing valuable data about when, where, and how often your code has been scanned.

Can a billboard QR code lead to a video?

Absolutely! QR codes can be linked to just about any type of content on the web, including videos.

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