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Use QR Codes to Avoid Facebook's Pay-per-Click Charge!

February 01 2011

qr code RET

I considered just holding onto this for my coaching clients, but decided this was too cool and wanted to share it with everyone. For a long while I have been recommending to agents that they use the Facebook advertising system, besides the insanely powerful demographics and ability to target your ad campaign, the price for the pay-per-click (PPC) model is really great.

What I discovered today was a total stumble upon moment. After I did the Future of Marketing 60 in 60, there was a rise in the discussion of QR codes in real estate and how effective they are, or will be. I know Lesley LambertLesley Lambert has been using them for a while and I defer to her as the expert for that, she is a rockstar. Some of the debates I have had have included the value of tracking the QR code to the user.


Alex LangeAlex Lange, the CTO at Market LeaderMarket Leader, and I debate this often – he prefers short codes, and I think he might be right. I discussed it too with a group at Real Estate Bar Camp Harrisburg recently, and a group member had the best idea I had heard – put the QR code on your name rider so you can track that specific code to a property. Still you can’t capture the lead info, and without the ability to follow up and convert where is the value.

So today while cruising Facebook I saw an ad for a QR code creator. I thought nothing of it and went on my way, then it clicked… and I clicked, but not in the “click the ad” way, I thought, wow – that would be a GREAT way for a real estate agent to use QR codes and hack the Facebook ad system. So I tested it, would the QR code scanner on my Blackberry work on the screen. It did. My theory might be complete, so here it is.

You want a PPC ad on Facebook but you don’t want the consumer to click it, if they click it you pay, you want name recognition, but what I see here is that with all the QR code buzz you get the best of both worlds. You get really amazing targeted advertising, you get the “buzz” of the neato QR code, and you can have people scan and pass through to your site without having the PPC charge.

qr code content

I am posting more about this inside The Hip RoofThe Hip Roof and hoping to get a discussion going. The beauty is you could use a different code for different campaigns and create short codes behind them to help track the results from a variety of ads.

What do you think?

Added at 3:20pm January 31, 2011:

Here is a copy of the 2009 ad campaign I ran. I didn’t run any ads in 2010, but have begun again in 2011.

My 2009 Ad Campaign results, PPC is higher now, but so are membership numbers with better demographics.

Obviously this is a loophole that I am certain FB will discover quickly and prevent, but might as well discover ideas. From this I began to think that QR codes would also be useful for cable companies in picking pay-per-view or on-demand, using an app on the phone, or even television viewing guides to preprogram your DVR. I think there are far more useful ways of incorporating QR codes into standard advertising and marketing, but for real estate, this is a fun way to take advantage of the buzz and set yourself apart.

Someone is psychologically less likely to “ignore” something they are unfamiliar with, and a QR code does have a striking pattern therefore a person might be curious to see what it is and how to use it. No it is not widespread, but why not differentiate yourself and capture the market that might know what it is and appreciate it. The tech savvy enough to know would probably also potentially have a higher socioeconomic demographic than some other groups, and that is a good target market for a real estate purchaser right?

I have lots more ideas, but not enough time.