Using Dynamic QR Codes to Deliver Variable Content

By now, most people know what a QR Code® is.  They’re everywhere – in magazine ads, newspapers, billboards and direct mail pieces.  By-and-large the code, when scanned with a mobile device, takes the user to static content.  Typically it points to a web page containing an advertisement, a static discount coupon or a company’s mobile web site.  The static code can be generated from any number of free sources and usually takes its content from a URL formatted something like

Did you know that it is also possible to create dynamically generated QR Codes to be used on a mail piece that will take the user to variable content?  By “dynamically generated” we mean that each QR code is different.  The code, after all, is a two-dimensional bar code that can be rendered as a font.  In this case the URL used to create the code would contain a query string to differentiate it from others.  It might take the form of  That query string on the end “?id=1234” is different for each code.  Using ASP (active server page) technology, the scanned code interacts with a web server to deliver a web page with dynamic content like “Hi Bob” and other personalized content.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Here’s an example.  The QR Code below was generated from a URL + query string similar to the one above.  Scan this code with your smart phone and see what you get.

QR Code

We created this sample code for a fictional casino to deliver a free slot play coupon to a guest.  The name, coupon and other data are all dynamically generated, enabling our casino to deliver variable offers based on the guest’s attributes.  The code generated is a simple 3of9 bar code that can be read by any optical bar code scanner at a POS terminal.  We used a casino for our example but this technology can be used for retail, automotive, healthcare or any business segment where the delivery of variable data to a mobile device is relevant.

So, when you’re ready to use a QR Code on your next promotion, why not make it come alive with variable content?

® QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave, Inc.

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  1. Clay Loges
    March 25, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Thanks for the good example of the QR code leading to a customized bar code. I’m looking for ideas for tourism application where a purchase can generate a QR code for redemption — similar to your example. How do you create an on-the-fly QR code? And how do you close the loop between the QR code and the displayed bar code? Thanks for sharing this example.

  2. gofranklingo
    March 27, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Thank you for your comment. In the case of a tourism promotion, you could send the individual a Thank You postcard after the purchase that would contain a dynamic QR code that, when scanned, would generate a personalized coupon on their mobile device that they could then use for redemption. This is all server side technology that we can help you with. Please email details of your project and we’ll see if we can help.