Great article. Everything you stated is completely true! In developing our own scannable app (SimpleSavr), we set out to solve the exact problems you listed above.
Brands are the ones that killed the value of the legacy QR code because they kept pushing consumers with useless information, such as web site content that was wasn’t mobile optimized. It was a poor user experience because it led to slow load times after the QR code was scanned, the user had to pinch and zoom to read the content, and the content didn’t deliver any incentives that made it worthwhile for the consumer to want to try that experience again (consumers could just visit a web site). There was a major disconnect in what brands wanted to deliver with QR codes (information) and what consumers expected out of QR codes (deals/offers).
With our SimpleSavr app we solved these problems.
Tech: First we developed a scan-to-app process. After a user scans our QR code with our app, the content loads directly in the app (usually within 5 seconds). The added benefit of going directly to app is that you get mobile app optimized content, which is a much better user experience than having to visit a web site (even a mobile optimized web site). Apps are better because they’re designed with the phone AND the user in mind.
Content: Second, we provide deals/offers/coupons as an incentive for scanning our QR code. Who wants to take the time to download a QR code scanner, scan the QR code, and get nothing in return??? Nobody! Data has shown that consumers will follow a brand (Facebook, Twitter, email, scan a QR code, etc) if they know they will receive an offer. In fact, studies have also shown that consumers will ditch a favorite brand if a competing brand has a better offer. Our app is all about scanning QR codes for offers/deals and letting the app manage your offers like a mobile wallet. Your offers are always with you and the app is sending push notifications alerting you when your offers are about to expire (this helps consumers take that call to action).
Here are two video demos of scanning both offline and online:
Scanning a print ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZygMQRXC42k
Scanning a Facebook ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qr2Mgcs8PA
You can see for yourself the experience is much better than traditional QR code scanning. So I can see how Snapchat would be interested in introducing scannable QR style ads. Especially with the scale of 100 million daily users.