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Dynamic QR code versus Static QR code

Summary: The terms “dynamic QR-code” and “static QR-code” are used two different ways.  One definition relates to the dialog that is displayed as a result of scanning the QR-code and the other definition relates to how QR-codes are used in mass marketing…


dynamic: characterized by or producing change or progression.

static: pertaining to or characterized by a fixed or stationary condition.

Definition #1: QR-codes having Dynamic Results or Static Results

A Static QR-code will display a dialog on a mobile device that will always be the same (static) for that particular QR-code.  Static QR-codes don’t require an internet connection and are most often used to convey contact information.  SMS QR-codes are also static and require a phone signal to complete transmission of the SMS Message.  The QR-code styles listed below create only static QR-codes (the result displayed on the mobile device or computer will never change):

  • Contact Details (vCard, meCard, Text)
  • E-mail Address
  • Telephone
  • Text
  • Geo-Location
  • *SMS

A Dynamic QR-code will display, on a mobile device, internet content such as a website, video, audio, or map, that can be changed while the QR  code remains unchanged.     They are dynamic because the content at the target URL (website) can be changed, but the image of the QR-code will stay the same.   Dynamic QR-codes containing links to web content are the most popular form of QR-codes in print advertising.  The term “Dynamic QR-code” is a bit of a misnomer, because the QR  code doesn’t change, be the dialog or result on the mobile device can.   Most simply, a batch of QR codes may use the same root URL, but many include a trailing identification number or Personal URL (PURL).   The trailing data may be  stripped off by a redirection program then the user’s display is populated with the content at the target URL address.  For example, the URL information contained in the QR-code might be http://dmqr.com/1234-j-smith .  The data following the final slash is stripped off for data collection and the user’s browser is redirected to http://dmqr.com

Dynamic QR-code content includes:

  • Website (Target URL)
  • Web Audio
  • Web Video (You Tube)
  • Web Mapping via URL

Definition #2: Mass Production QR-codes that are Dynamic or Static

Dynamic QR code

This batch of direct mail pieces to college students has a dynamic QR code. Each QR-code is unique for each student. It allows tracking to know who scanned the QR-code and it allows customized results for each recipient on the mobile device.


A less popular use of these terms ( but technically more accurate) is related to mass production of QR-codes in marketing, bulk mailing and print advertising.  It is best described by example:  Perhaps a post card containing a image of a QR-code is mailed to 50,000 recipients.    If each of the 50,000 recipients receive precisely the same QR-code, then it is a static (non-changing)  QR-code.   However, with high speed laser printers it is possible to print 50,000 unique QR-codes containing individual data that uniquely identifies each recipient (possibly for response tracking).  Athough the 50,000 QR-codes may look the same and be in the same location on each print piece, they are dynamic QR-codes because each of the 50,000 QR-codes is unique.


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