Tracking QR codes with Google Analytics

If you are running marketing campaigns that use QR codes, it’s essential to track how often they are being scanned so you know how your campaigns are performing.

Is the fancy poster design performing better than the minimal one? Is the leaflet campaign in one neighbourhood performing better than the others? Dynamic QR codes include tracking & analytics that help you answer questions like these, but you can go further by connecting your campaigns with Google Analytics.

Basic scan analytics show you how often your QR codes are being scanned, but can't tell you what happens after the scan. Are the scans leading to actual conversions like newsletter sign ups or sales?

A screenshot of a Google Analytics chart

In this guide we share how dynamic QR codes and Google Analytics can be combined to connect the missing link between your QR code campaigns and conversion events.

Tracking QR code scans in Google Analytics

Note: We’re writing this in early 2024, so when we are talking about Google Analytics, we are all in on GA4.

The first step in this process is to make sure that when someone scans one of your QR codes and lands on your website, it's tracked in Google Analytics.

We do this using a feature called UTM parameters. Even if you don’t know what UTM parameter are, you will have come across links that use them. They look something like this:

Assuming you already have Google Analytics set up on your site, you don't even need to log in to start using UTM parameters with your QR codes.

It's as simple as adding UTM parameters to your links before using them to create QR codes. When someone scans your QR code and is taken to a link on your site with the parameters, the source/medium etc will be tracked in Google Analytics.

Adding UTM parameters to your QR codes is the most vital step in this process, but the good news is that it's super easy.

There are plenty of link generators available online that take the pain out of adding UTM parameters to your links. We even have our own that's totally free.

The online generator makes it as easy as adding your UTM details to a form, then copying the resulting link and using it to create a QR code.

We are planning on integrating UTM tools directly into Hovercode to make the process seamless. Stay tuned!

If your current Google Analytics setup isn't sophisticated, it's worth adding UTM parameters to your major QR code campaigns so you can find insights later down the line.

Tracking conversion events

Now that you're collecting QR code data in Google Analytics, it's time to ensure you're set up to track conversions like sign ups, free trials, donations, sales etc. This is done using what’s called “Events”

You can set up an “event” to be tracked based on the following user action:

  • click
  • first_visit
  • page_view
  • scroll
  • session_view

A simple example of a conversion event is one that tracks newsletter signups by checking how many people land on the "thank you" page after signing up to your newsletter. Once you're tracking conversion events, you'll be able to see things like the source or medium that led to the conversions. That's where the UTM data you're collecting comes into play.

Ideally, you already have Google Analytics set up to track events, but here's an example of how to add one in case you haven't done it before:

Head to your Google Analytics admin panel

A screenshot of Google Analytics admin

Click on "Events," which is under "Data display"

The Google Analytics admin panel with the

Click on "Create event"


Click on "Create"


Add your event name and matching conditions

Google Analytics add event details

We went with "newsletter_signup" for the event name. The event is created when "page_location" matches the URL of our newsletter "thank you for subscribing" page.

Now every time someone lands on that page, it will be tracked as a "newsletter_signup" event, which you will be able to see in various reports.

At this point, Google Analytics is keeping track of your conversion events as well as which traffic is coming from your QR code campaigns. Wrangling insights from Google Analytics reports is tricky, but you are now collecting all the data you need to ensure the insights are available.

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