2D Mobile Tagging Recommendation

Bryce MarshallWhich technology does Knotice recommend? The answer here gets only slightly clearer. In most cases Knotice recommends Microsoft Tag, and here’s why – it’s all about the consumer.
Right now, at the moment I’m writing this, Microsoft Tag provides the simplest, cleanest, and most straightforward solution for getting the tag reader application onto consumers’ mobile devices: http://gettag.mobi. QR solutions do not yet have a single source to download the application from. Plus, across the many options – branded or otherwise – the reader download experience can vary widely… from decent to deplorable. As far as Knotice is concerned, all the other important considerations take a back seat to the consumer experience. If the average, day-to-day consumer can’t complete the app download, and can’t manage the scanning process, none of these technologies go anywhere. This is where Microsoft’s solution has a leg up.

The other considerations are mostly concerned with marketer/brand/business experiences. Microsoft Tag is a proprietary solution. On the upside this means a few more built-in bells and whistles. On the downside this means a few more restrictions, such as less freedom for customization than the more flexible QR solution, which tends to be embraced by developers and technologists who love the freedom to customize a solution.

Here’s an example. If a brand wants to adopt a single 2D code technology as its “enterprise” tagging solution for consumers to engage with the brand, important factors come into play. On one hand Microsoft Tag is ready to go. Out of the box there are more tools that enterprises like, though there’s still a way to go before it’s truly enterprise-ready. But, MS Tag is proprietary. Thus far, Microsoft hasn’t been willing or able to play ball and open the tag reader functionality up to developers. For instance, the enterprise would have difficultly embedding the tag reader within its branded app, a vital capability for making the tag scanning process a part of a well-branded experience. With QR-based technologies, we can make this happen.

In recent posts I’ve been accused of being a MS Tag apologist. Not so. It’s true that I see more benefit adopting MS Tag for majority of use cases, real or hypothetical. I encourage every marketer serious about adopting 2D codes as part of their interactive mix to: (A) List their own business objective, (B) Do the research on both technologies, and (C) Actively experiment with both. Whether the plan involves using QR codes or MS Tag it costs virtually nothing to begin creating codes/tags. Explore what works for you and your customers.

Here is a simple outline of some of the key aspects of comparing QR codes with Microsoft Tag. This is a straightforward way of breaking down the attributes, and marketers can evaluate on their own what consumer and brand/business considerations are important:

QR code

Microsoft Tag

Technology Standard Created



Technology Type

Quick Response Code

High Capacity Color Barcode

Link/Data Methodology

Actual data storage in-code (URL, et al)

Unique ID in-code (redirects to registered URL, et al)



1-color or CMYK

Reader Download Availability

Many apps, many sites, plentiful device support across sites including key operating systems (iPhone, Blackberry, Symbian, Android, Windows, Palm)

One site, fairly robust device support including iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Windows operating systems

Enterprise Tools and Support

Varies widely depending on source

Basic tag organization, rendering, and reporting tools

Read part one of Bryce’s commentary on 2D tags here

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