QR Codes & Powerful Posters | Clear Channel
Cafe advert on a digital mall poster with a QR code to 'scan for a free drink'

QR Codes for Posters

Driving engagement on Out of Home advertising

QR codes have seen a meteoric rise in usage and adoption since they became an essential touchpoint during the pandemic, and brands have seized the moment. Everywhere from retail displays, floor stickers and even TV ads, QR codes can be seen lurking in the corner, in the hope of engagement to provide much loved metrics for marketers. 

A 2022 report from Sightline, The DOOH Difference, showed that 94% of people found QR codes on DOOH to be useful, with 1 in 4 having scanned one. 

To get the most from their addition to outdoor advertising, there are 3 things to remember: environment, ease and exchange.

Autumn fashion poster on a digital bus shelter advertising screen on a busy high street
TV streaming advert on a roadside digital billboard in winter
Sports fashion brand on a premium roadside digital billboard in summer with lots of audience
Alcoholic drinks brand on a high street digital poster in summer
Large and small format digital posters in a shopping mall with a mobile network brand advertised
Food brand advertising on a digtal poster outside a supermarket in winter


The OOH landscape is made up of different formats, in different environments, which people engage with in different ways. 

When considering when and where to use QR codes, this makes life very simple. High speed, largely roadside formats on busy arterial roads are not suitable. Whereas largely pedestrian, high dwell time, heavy footfall environments and retail proximity formats are perfect for inclusion.

Animated GIF showing the same alcohol poster with a QR code for users to scan to get a recipe, where the first ad has a small QR code and the second is larger


To sensibly incorporate QR codes, and maximise their chance of engagement, think about where it features on the poster… literally and physically? 

QR codes should be easy to scan for the best media experience, thinking about the Powerful Posters design for legibility advice, keep it simple, striking, succinct and sensible: up from the ground, both high contrast and large enough to be scanned from a slight distance, with a clear call to action to explain what’s in it for those who scan. 

Put the customer at the heart of the design, ensuring a sensible user experience, and above all, test the code in the real-world to make sure it works!

User journey of a QR code on an outdoor advertising poster, with phone activating the QR code


Most crucially, give your customer a solid value exchange. 

A simple link to a homepage is nothing a simple google search couldn’t do. Advertisers now have the opportunity for deeper engagement by providing specific links Or curating specific product sets. 

For example, fashion brands can link to what’s shown on the ad, or entertainment brands to exclusive content or local cinema times. Other great examples include added value such as vouchers, product trials, competitions, discounts and other incentives, often in exchange for data capture.