How To Use QR Codes To Get More Users to Your Mobile App

Quick response (QR) codes can adorn everything from storefronts and receipts to menus and bus stops. A QR code can help transform a transactional moment in time into a relationship, but many QR codes are not optimized for building app engagement. 

App users have higher conversion and engagement. And you can offer them a better experience in-app. But to get users from scanning a QR code in the real world to spending time or money in your app, the experience needs to be seamless. 

Experience and attribution matter

When using QR codes to drive app engagement and app downloads, experience and attribution matter. Sure, 45% of smartphone users reported scanning a marketing-related QR code in the three months prior to a 2021 survey. But how many of those QR codes were optimized for great experience and accurate mobile attribution? 


Scanning a QR code is compelling to consumers because it’s easy. Customers who scan your QR code should always be deep linked, i.e. routed directly to the content they’re expecting to see in your app. 

Newspaper including a QR code QR code being scanned from a newspaper App store to download the app from scanning a QR code App content that had been promoted in newspaper

Even if they don’t yet have the app installed and are first routed to the App Store or Play Store to install your app, customers should then be routed back to the content they’re expecting after install with deferred deep linking


You must be able to tie app activity back to the QR code that drove it. This includes accurate attribution and conversion data, even down to the specific store location or product where the QR code was scanned. Make sure to apply proper analytics labels to your Branch QR Codes like channel, campaign, feature, and tags.

Scaling QR codes requires simple creation and maintenance

Consider all the channels and campaigns in which you can leverage QR codes. The situation quickly becomes complicated for multi-faceted enterprise businesses. You need to learn how to easily create new QR codes, customize QR codes, and update existing QR code links to ensure that your content is always up to date.


When managing many QR codes, it’s key to be able to quickly create QR codes or convert any URL with one click from your browser. Programmatically creating QR codes via SDK or API can also speed up your workflow, eliminate developer work, and scale to enterprise-level traffic. You can even create branded QR codes in real time, personalized to each user. 


The often-physical nature of QR codes typically means they require advanced planning. Running a campaign with QR codes on things like physical goods, signage, or in print media enables you to capture offline-to-app users and attribute the success of that campaign. But a static QR code doesn’t offer a lot of flexibility for change. You’re missing conversions if you don’t have a dynamic QR code that can be updated with a different link for a current, relevant offer. 

Where to use QR codes to drive app downloads and engagement

As with other channels, you must match the placement of a QR code campaign with the intent of the users who see it. This could include completing an in-person activity, taking advantage of an incentive or promotion, or enabling an existing relationship. In every case, the user has to see the value of interacting with your app.

Tips to make your app part of the shopping experience using QR codes

1. Include QR codes on product packaging and inserts. Print once and dynamically update QR codes on product packaging for consumers that already have a relationship with your brand.

QR code on a tag in a shoe QR code on a tag in a shoe being scanned

2. Display QR codes on your storefronts and in-store signage to encourage app downloads.

Clothing rack in store displaying a QR code

3. Support curbside pickup and “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) in app with QR codes that speed up the pickup process.

Promotion to download app to expedite check-in for mobile pickup

4. Enable users to create their own QR codes for referrals or user-generated content (UGC) to expand your brand reach.

Hand holding a phone showing a branded QR code Printer with custom branded QR code Recommendation for individuals to include their custom QR code in shipping box Two people sharing their custom QR codes in person

Tips for using QR codes to advertise your app 

Print QR codes on physical fliers, mailers, gifts, or other direct mail campaigns to promote your app.

Flier including a branded QR code

Include app-enabled QR codes in television campaigns to reach new audiences, bridge devices, and promote installs.

On-screen OTT QR code for Cyber Monday promotion  Cyber Monday promotion landing page accessed via OTT QR code

Make QR codes part of your email campaigns to encourage activity in the app.

Email including a QR code to download the app Phone scanning an email QR code to download the app App store visited once the QR code is scanned

Use branded QR codes promoting loyalty rewards, including auto-applying promotion codes, to entice customers at their peak intent.

App store download page including promotion  After app download, promotion is reflected in the app

Incorporate QR codes into print ads or other physical advertising like billboards or signage. 

Printed billboard promoting specific content and including a QR code Specific content being promoted on the billboard is accessed once scanning the QR code

Extend your most valued relationships

Branch’s industry-leading mobile linking platform (MLP) enables QR codes that do all of the above, so you can extend the relationship with your most valuable customers. If you’re not already using QR codes, it’s not too late to make them part of your mobile app acquisition and retention strategy.

With 76 million smartphone users scanning a QR code in 2021, QR codes are here to stay. See how simple it can be to seamlessly route users to relevant in-app content, increase conversion rates, and understand performance with Branch QR codes.