COINBASE’s Super Bowl ad proves that QR codes are more than just injecting recognition
With the correct use of QR codes, you can turn traditional ad formats into opportunities for your own data.
QR codes are certainly not a new marketing tool, but Coinbase’s Super Bowl commercials show that these 2D barcodes are a powerful way to facilitate engagement with historically unobtrusive media, television. Coinbase commercials were just QR codes that bounced on the screen and almost destroyed the internet (and temporarily the Coinbase website) during the game on Sunday night. Created with Accenture Interactive, this spot brought over 20 million hits to the landing page per minute. This was six times the engagement forecast, Coinbase Chief Marketing Officer Kate Rouch said in a company blog post.
No actors. No scenes. No backgrounds. No branding. No dialogue. Just a QR code. Coinbase’s Super Bowl ads are unique. An ad modeled after an old color-changing DVD screensaver showed a simple QR code bouncing on a black screen. With game music inspired by the 90’s, the ads played leisurely for 60 seconds, and many of us took out our phones and scanned them to find out what we were looking at.
According to a survey by ad exchange company Sharethrough, 79% of TV viewers open up their mobile phones during commercial breaks, so consumers are already ready to take advantage of available ads. This, coupled with admitting that 76% of viewers aren’t actively watching ads, Sharethrough says the CTV QR code keeps viewers’ attention during commercial breaks. I believe it will be useful.
According to a Twitter spokesman, Coinbase was in the top five of Twitter’s hottest brands as of Sunday night, rising from 186th on the App Store to second on the financial media brand Blockworks. “Creative Brief has specifically promoted ideas that encourage participation in the crypto economy, not just brand engagement,” said Alex Woods, Accenture Interactive’s business leader, who led Coinbase’s work, in an email. I did. While other brands are incorporating QR codes into big game marketing, Coinbase has made QR codes the star of their Super Bowl debut. Coinbase saw the Super Bowl as more than an opportunity to raise brand awareness in a relatively new category. These types of activations, when performed correctly, have been shown to drive actual KPIs such as: Increase website traffic and app downloads and collect important first-party data. While some of these activations are still mostly in the limelight, marketing tools prove their true value to the brand by increasing sales, downloads and conversions.
Here are some mind-blowing numbers from this ad spot:
✅ 60 seconds of exposure only!
✅ $14 million broadcast cost during the final.
✅ The only super bowl advertisement to make the headlines on Google.
✅ The Coinbase App in 2nd place in the store. It was 186th a few hours before the commercial aired!
✅ The server crashed so much traffic on their app was colossal!
✅ 20 million users logged in on the first minute! This is more than all the traffic generated by Coinbase during its existence!
✅ 500,000 organic searches on Google!
✅ All the biggest media took over the info and talked about the #QR #coinbase phenomenon
Think QR code, think Ma Balise!
QR as the main character
Marketers have traditionally used QR codes as a secondary accompaniment to Easter eggs or larger activations, but Coinbase has shown that technology can play a leading role. “Coinbase made QR the main character and got the result of the main character,” Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong said.
It should be noted that Coinbase shelled out $14 million to attract the spectators’ attention—all for a QR code.
Although QR first appeared as a marketing tool in the early 2010s, technology did not continue to be popular and was replaced by more vibrant mobile tactics such as augmented reality. Pandemics have led to the resurgence of QR codes that enable touchless protocols in everyday life. Consumers have become accustomed to scanning menu and poster code, and brands in all categories have implemented tools in marketing. This acceptance is one of the reasons why QR codes can reach their heyday. “[During the pandemic] most people had a consumer experience with a QR that opened their eyes, and I think what you saw Sunday night is people starting to translate experiences they`ve had into much larger channels,” Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong said.
Displaying ads around QR codes gives consumers enough time to display them. This is essential for generating web traffic and downloads (the much shorter code for Liquid Death received only 52 hits per brand compared to the success of Coinbase’s 1 minute code). “In recent years, with the updated QR code relevance, most viewers of the game quickly understood what it was and how to use a mobile phone to manipulate the QR code.” Nick Miaritis, Executive VP of Vayner Media, said in an email.
Coinbase should have been able to create a better user experience with regards to QR codes. Some suggest that the code may send people to different landing pages, depending on whether the person is already an active user or a new user. This may have helped maintain the durability of the platform and prevent crashes during peak traffic jams.
“We want to match KPIs with the customers who scan,” Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong said.
Double data win
Another benefit of QR codes is the collection of in-house data. Users accessing the Coinbase, StockX, or Liquid Death Super Bowl links were prompted to enter credentials such as their name and email address. These credentials can be used later for targeting work. .. “In an era of stricter privacy laws, companies like Coinbase shouldn’t underestimate their ability to build their own databases,” Taylor said. Considering that Super Bowl ads appear in front of such a large audience, associating a QR code with a promotion enables effective data collection, Taylor said.
QR codes also offer another advantage when capturing your own data. Send data directly to your brand without the need for support from external platforms such as social or search. “What happened on Sunday night is that QR companies not only get their data directly, but also get it, optimize it, and add it to their systems for sale to competitors. I avoided that, “said Armstrong.
For example, data obtained via Intuit’s QR code could be collected on Twitter and bundled with other data for sale as a marketing analysis, but Coinbase’s own data was sent only to Coinbase. Whether it’s TV or out-of-home activation, this prudence provides another reason to rely on the QR code of your ad. “There is a secondary advantage here, which is that it offers a really significant advantage in the ability of brands to differentiate over the long term,” said Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong.
Interestingly, Meta quickly got into the tide of Coinbase’s viral QR code. The company tweeted its own bouncing QR code. This is linked to the company’s Foo Fighters-led VR afterparty planned after the game.
What did Coinbase get right with this QR code campaign?
First of all, please note that this ad is actually a product of the COVID era. This campaign wouldn’t have worked without a surprising surge in mainstream adoption over the last two years and a QR code scan almost second-nature.
Coinbase’s advertising aesthetics are intriguing and designed to evoke the memories of an old bouncing DVD screensaver from 20 years ago:
Where could Coinbase have done things even better?
The QR code used in Coinbase points to a simple web URL … that’s it. From both a UX and data usability standpoint, this was probably the biggest missed opportunity for the campaign.
The landing page could also have included other analytics scripts such as Facebook/Google SDK (Conversion Tracking and Audience Retargeting). The latter could have helped Coinbase extend the long tail of conversions from this campaign over the next following weeks. These possibilities are included with the Ma Balise Nearby platform. Driving your campaign with metrics help you to better understand your audience and lead you to a better UX
Coinbase’s use of QR codes wasn’t perfect. Some Twitter users have expressed privacy concerns about the proliferation of dangerous links that have long plagued QR space, especially since Coinbase’s name only appeared at the end of the 60-second ad.
We have to admit it was pretty good.
It 100 percent got folks’ attention.
While there were a few possible areas for improvement, it was a particularly successful campaign that boosted the Coinbase app from 186th place to 2nd in the App Store and grabbed everyone’s conversation during the next following days.
You don’t need to be such a big company, or spend that bunch of money to succeed with a QR ad campaign. Get in touch with us to learn how you can make it at your SME’s level.