Lemmings at Impact Hub Vienna researching UX and distribution strategies for chat bots.

Why Facebook Messenger Codes work where QR Codes did not

In 1994 Toyota came up with a clever technology to track automobile parts to optimize the car manufacturing process. Quick Response Codes.

Since then QR codes found their way onto product packaging, marketing campaigns, information leaflets and more. With varying degrees of success.

Users have to download an app in order to scan the codes, and the payoff is usually unsatisfying — websites not formatted for users’ mobile devices, for instance, or a result that’s an obvious gimmick (ahem). For the majority of cell phone users, the experience is simply not worth the effort.
 — Rachel Swaby, Wired.com
Facebook Messenger, Kik, QR (from left to right)

Scan codes for Snapchat, Facebook Messenger or Kik solve two main challenges that users experience with QR codes.

You already have the app to scan it

Once you recognize the code you already know which platform it belongs to and that you have the app needed to scan the code.

This is especially interesting on iOS where QR code scanners don’t come pre-installed and need to be downloaded from the store.

But probably more important …

You know exactly where the scan code will take you

Unlike with QR codes there is no uncertainty. A platform specific scan code always leads to a well known experience within the platform.

On Snapchat it takes you to a prompt to add the specific user. On the messaging platforms it takes you directly to the conversation.