QR codes may seem counterintuitive. The time it takes to open a QR code-scanning app and actually get your smartphone to scan can take just as long to type in the web or email address, which is likely linked from the code. Because of this, you may possess mixed feelings on whether or not they’re a good marketing tool. Let’s look at some statistics.

A 2012 study found that roughly 15 percent of people use QR codes in the US and parts of Europe. Although a minority, this number is still significant. If you consider that about 150,000,000 people in the US own smart phones, it’s easy to see how large of an audience is still reached.

While some QR code placement is questionable—busses, billboards and even retail end caps—there are certainly effective uses. Business cards, posters and packaging tend to draw the largest population of scanners. Magazines lead the pack attracting about 15% of all scans. Business cards and brochures also draw in decent numbers.

It’s important to know who’s using these shortcuts. The majority of users are 18 – 34 years old. This age range is both large and significant to the marketing world.

Despite the fact that the majority of smartphone users don’t make use of their QR-scanning apps, the minority that do still span into the millions. While in comparison it may feel like a small victory it’s a victory nonetheless. If you’re interested in branding with QR codes, there are several free and easy-to-use websites that will help you branch out. Give them a try.