5 ways to use QR codes in your live streams

In the U.S. alone, 99.5 million smartphone users will be scanning QR codes by 2025. That’s terrific news for streamers, because QR codes open up a whole world of possibilities for you and your audience.
5 ways to use QR codes in your live streams

Have you noticed that QR codes seem to be everywhere lately? Restaurant tables, billboards, social media, Super Bowl ads… Even gravestones. (Really.)

Originally invented in 1994 to keep track of automobile parts in factories, these square black-and-white barcodes have soared in popularity — thanks in no small part to the coronavirus pandemic and the sudden need to reduce physical contact as much as possible.

In the U.S. alone, 75.8 million smartphone users scanned a QR code in 2021, and that number is projected to reach 99.5 million by 2025. That’s terrific news for streamers, because QR codes open up a whole world of possibilities for you and your audience.

What kind of possibilities, you ask? Great question! Let’s explore a few.

1. Selling stuff with QR codes

When people make purchasing decisions, the facts matter. Obviously they’ll consider a product’s cost and specs. But their emotions matter too, and that’s why live videos are such effective sales tools.

Check out how Pair Eyewear does it on Facebook.

Despite a bare-bones set and no-frills branding, Pair Eyewear’s video works because it appeals to their audience’s emotions. It features:

  • Authentic, charismatic hosts who make you feel like you’re chatting with friends
  • Stories about what inspired the designs to make the brand feel relatable and get you invested in their success
  • Demos and styling recommendations to help you visualize yourself enjoying the product
  • A sense of communal action through references to what’s popular with other Pair Eyewear customers

But there’s one more thing they do to help customers complete their journey: they use a QR code to create a frictionless buying experience. The moment a viewer decides “I want those glasses,” they can go straight to the purchase page by scanning the QR code on screen.

2. Raising money with QR codes

Churches and other places of worship are discovering that live streaming is a powerful way to reach their congregation. Dr. Rabon L. Turner, Pastor of Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church in Flint, MI, conducts services via live stream to:

  • Reach members at home
  • Facilitate participation through live comments
  • Supplement his message with graphics and slides
  • Record his live stream and broadcast it again later to reach more people with a second live experience

When it’s time to pass the virtual collection plate, a QR code takes viewers straight to Grace Emmanuel’s Givelify page, allowing them to make donations seamlessly in varying amounts.

Of course, fundraising isn’t just for religious institutions. Schools, nonprofits, and creators organizations can leverage live streaming to raise money. A few ideas: add a live ticker alongside your QR code so your audience can track your progress toward your fundraising goal, or use on-screen graphics to display the names of donors in real time.

Great news for affiliate marketing partners: when it comes to promoting your affiliate links, you’re no longer bound to written content like blogs or social media posts. You can use QR codes to promote your affiliate link live on camera. For your viewers, the QR code eliminates the pain point of searching for the product, and you don’t miss out on getting credit for the referral. Win-win.

One of our very own affiliates, Kirk Nugent, shows how it’s done.

Looks fun, right? Plus, adding a QR code with Restream Studio gives you access to all kinds of useful analytics like how many people scanned your code and visited your product page.

4. Building an audience with QR codes

You never know when a social platform may decide to switch up its policies, features or algorithm. (Or owner…) That’s why building a strong following across different platforms is a must. Plus, it’s so much easier to reach your viewers when they follow your accounts on all the platforms they use.

Business strategist Hunter Gaylor covers a variety of topics and news in the business world on his YouTube channel. The videos are popular in their own right, but they’re also an invaluable tool for driving audience growth.

That QR code in the upper-left corner leads viewers to Hunter’s Twitter account, which has now grown to over 50,000 followers.

5. Capturing leads with QR codes

Neil Patel, entrepreneur, marketing influencer and New York Times bestselling author has jumped on QR codes as an effective lead generation tool. Recently, he used Restream to include a QR code in his webinar on AI technology. Scanning the code allows a viewer to fill out a contact form for Neil’s consulting services and sign up for his webinar in seconds.

Plus, he doesn’t need to interrupt the conversation on screen with a lengthy speech urging people to his website. The QR code and a short blurb do all the work for him. On top of that, his QR code has UTM parameters, so he can track who came to his site from the live video and see how they convert.

The potential for lead generation with QR codes is huge. What kind of hook would be compelling for your audience? An e-book? A contest? A coupon?

How to add a QR code to your live stream

Ready to feature a QR code in your live stream? Like most things in life, there’s more than one way to do it. In this case, there’s the hard way, and there’s the easy way.

The hard way

If you stream with OBS or another encoder, you’ll need to generate your own QR code and incorporate it into an overlay. The nice thing about this approach is that you have more flexibility on the size of the QR code and where it appears on the screen. Keep in mind though that you’ll need to keep generating a new code and updating the overlay anytime you want to change its destination.

The easy way

In Restream Studio, you can turn on your QR code at any point before or during your stream. Customizing the code’s destination takes a couple of clicks, and you can add your own image to appear alongside the code.

QR codes are here to stay

There are plenty of ways to uplevel your live stream with QR codes. And plenty of reasons why you should. Did you know that the average person sees 6,000-10,000 ads per day? There’s a lot of competition for your viewers’ time and attention. The great advantage of QR codes is how easy they make it for people to take the actions you want them to take, whether that’s hitting the buy button, following your social channels or checking out your website.

Get started today.

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