Microsoft’s Microsoft Tag for Microsoft Office FTW!

Good post today by my buddy, David Weinfeld, about 2-D barcodes, specifically how much they’ve been used this year, even citing a ScanLife report that shows a 700% increase in barcode scanning.  It’s a big number, but you must consider that it almost started at 0 in January.  The number of people who actually use this technology is still small.  What I found more interesting in the report was a) 1/2 of the barcode users were 35-45 skewing more male (I found this a high demo – would have thought it would be younger) and b) the most popular smartphone platform among users was the Google Android platform, followed by BlackBerry, then by iPhone.  It’s one of the few times I’ve seen anything led by something non-iPhone, particularly with the use of new technology.

This morning, I came across a Microsoft ad that featured one of their Microsoft Tags.

I had high expectations for this experience, it being a Microsoft Tag on a Microsoft ad about Microsoft Office.  (I didn’t quite get the 3-D thing on the text – don’t know if you can see it, but I looked past it).  What I got was a nice, easy site with videos.  My first impression was that it was good, but really, it just left me feeling like it was any other code/scanning experience that I’ve seen.

Then, I looked closer and went through the experience again. I have to say, it’s well thought-out and includes some little things that really separate it from others that I’ve seen. First, the videos are highly produced and there are lots of them! And they’re all sharable via Facebook and/or Twitter. The social integration is smooth and it pre-polpulates an #Office2010 hashtag. Besides that, it gives you a blank field to draft your own tweet. (Having done this before, I’ve elected to pre-draft the entire tweet for the user, including the hashtag, just for the ease of experience. In the end, people are used to drafting tweets on their phone so I suppose it doesn’t make much of a difference). The most important aspect here is that this feature extends the brand experience beyond this particular “channel.”

They extend channels via another feature, too – an email sign up to “receive details on how to get a free trial of Office 2010.”  This not only drives the user deeper into the brand, it drives them one step closer to purchase, which is the end goal, right?  Smart.

And on top of it all, navigating this mobile site is like navigating any good website on your computer.

This is what I expect from one of these experiences, particularly from a maker of this type of technology.  I’m glad I looked again, because it gave me a chance to notice things I should notice.  It doesn’t always have to be unique right off the bat, upon first glance.  Often times, regardless of what technology or channel it’s in, the elegance is in the details.  As is the case here.

700% shows awareness of this technology.  That’s a great indicator of widespread adoption.  What’s on the other end of the scan, as David and anyone else who’s dealt with/analyzed these technologies says, is going to be the key to real adoption.

2 thoughts on “Microsoft’s Microsoft Tag for Microsoft Office FTW!

  1. Jill D.

    The Scanlife report deserves a second look as well. the 700% increase from “zero” sounds good. But, there are some disconnects in the numbers. Overall it skews Male by 74% but, look at the Category scans?

    Microsoft Tag seems to have launched a number of really well thought out campaigns the past few months (a huge number in magazines). From what I can tell, Microsoft Tag have been directly involved in helping those campaigns (maybe even a financial contribution to get more Readers installed?). But, the point is, these campaigns have been Brands, with Agencies, with the Tag company THINKING THROUGH THE CAMPAIGNs. Compared to the QR camapaigns, which have generally been terribly thought out, Microsoft Tag has become a contender in the market, despite it being a proprietary Tag format.

  2. Mike Cearley Post author

    Thanks for the response, Jill. Agree on the ScanLife report. Where’s the methodology? How are they defining “users?” The numbers definitely raise an eyebrow. I really would have liked to have seen more insights coming out of this, but it’s just a data dump.

    Regarding MS Tag – I don’t have any inside info on how/who has developed campaigns with MS tags, but this one being on a Microsoft ad, I have to assume they played a heavy role in the creation of the experience. And they did a good job. I think all barcodes – MS tags and QR codes – are one-in-the-same to the general consumer. It’s just important that the experience pays off and less about the type of code it is, in my opinion. Have a good weekend.

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