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5 Mistake Advertisers Are Making With QR Codes On CTV And 5 Reasons Why They Want To Get It Right.

QR Codes have unimaginable potential for CTV advertisers when it comes to engaging, activating and converting consumers on Connected TV. Unfortunately however, because of the physical way they are being deployed they are almost certainly not giving brands the results they're looking for.

Here's the kicker though: all of the mistakes being made are easily solvable.

Before we dive into how they could be used more effectively, let's begin with 5 reasons why QR codes are so important for Connected TV and the the potential they have to be so effective:


  1. They create a DIRECT DOORWAY between a brand and their consumers. This means no intermediary collecting all that juicy data and no risk of someone searching for your brand online and being hooked by a sponsored search result that then gains from your expensive CTV efforts.

  2. They are DYNAMIC. What this means is that if you can send every different audience you're targeting to a different product or service. Better yet, you can have the code do something fundamentally different depending on who it's going to. You can learn more about how many things a QR code can do here.

  3. They ENVIRONMENT could not be more ideal. You have audiences in a highly captive environment with a circa 90% likelihood that they have a device in their hand. A device that almost all of us trust and use to make big and important decisions every day - mobile banking, e-commerce shopping, name it, we trust it to be the device that will get us what we want.

  4. Depending on what you use them for, they can provide a brand with highly valuable TRACEABLE DATA that can teach you all kinds of things about the viewer who at the end of the day was interested enough in your value proposition that they lifted their arm up and opened their camera.

  5. They can lead to significant DWELL TIME. Again, depending on what the QR code to be a doorway to, you can immerse them in a video game, a questionnaire...honestly, anything you want.


Now that we've been reminded of just a few of the reasons why QR codes have so much potential on Connected TV, here are 5 mistakes that almost everyone is making - and simply do not need to be:

  1. SIZE. 99% of QR Codes used on are too small to be readable when you consider the average distance between a viewer and their TV.

  2. TIME ON SCREEN. At Origin, we work with a number of leading QR code solutions and one of the most important things people forget is the time it takes for a viewer to actually scan a code. You can read more about the mental and emotional process that a viewer has to go through before agreeing to scan a code here.

  3. BACKGROUND. For a QR code to be readable, it requires a certain amount of what is called 'quiet space' around it. This requires more space and that creates yet more of a challenge for brands who think that a QR overlay is a good idea.

  4. RESOLUTION. While this problem actually exists for reasons that are not directly related to this topic (the problem of folks using eg desktop video assets on TV is an ongoing habit), resolution matters.

  5. CALL TO ACTION. In our mind, we have saved the best (aka most important) to last. We live in a world where we're asking someone to stop what they are doing and do something else. For this to happen, they need to WANT to do so. This requires a degree of desire that is rooted in offering a true value exchange'.

While we have obscured the code so as not to expose the brand, here is an example of a CTV ad that one of our team snapped while watching TV the other day containing a QR code that fits beautifully into the ad but lacks a number of essentials for it to work effectively.

At Origin, we have spent almost 3 years exploring and experimenting with QR codes and quite coincidentally, the Native CTV ad formats we've brought to market provide precisely the environment and opportunity that a brand needs to overcome these problems.

Here's a snapshot taken from a Native placement that Origin ran recently for a client:

This actually ran as a 'Bookend' unit, where we 'primed' the viewer before the ad, ran the ad and then closed it with the QR code and call to action. You can watch the complete creative here.


That all said, here is one final thought that you probably won't see/hear/read from anyone else - if we take account all of the logistical reasons above that can be controlled by the advertiser, we cannot control the viewer themselves. We are asking them to do something they've never done before and NO ONE knows yet whether THEY truly see TV as being something they want to interact with this way.

If you are thinking about investing in a QR Code CTV strategy but are concerned about getting it right, drop us a line and we can talk:


Origin is a pioneering media & technology company whose ground-breaking Native CTV ad formats are reshaping the way brands engage and activate consumers on the largest screen in the home.

Fusing dynamic content animation with proprietary ad serving technology, Origin's first to market ad formats elevate attention, brand recall, consideration and outcomes for brands who are looking for a stronger return on their CTV investments.

Origin was founded by media veterans Fred Godfrey and Stephen Strong whose careers have been shaped by their relentless commitment to enraging the status quo. Learn more at

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