What Makes for a Successful Zap?

Best Practices

What Makes for a Successful Zap?

Over the last six years we've learned a lot about how to make zaps that engage and delight users. In order to share the love we've distilled our thoughts down into our three C's for success: context, call to action, and content.


The context of a zap is the environment and circumstances of your target audience. Without the right context users may be unable or unwilling to use their phone to zap your content.

Make sure your user can focus their attention on their device for at least five minutes
Avoid placing zaps in places where users will not wish to use their phone (e.g. in a swimming pool), or where it is unsafe to do so (e.g. on the back of a moving car). Good locations include the user's home, or places where users will be idle for some time (e.g. bus stops, waiting rooms).
Ensure good 3G or Wifi connectivity
While it's not always possible to be sure of the location of your users try to avoid placing zaps in places that have poor network connectivity. Subways, for instance, have notoriously poor mobile reception.
Consider lighting and reflections
The Zappar app needs to see your zapcode in order to scan it so make sure that your users are likely to have enough light to make that possible. Most of the time it isn't a problem but it's something to consider if you anticipate a darker environment.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating - if possible give some content a zap yourself in an environment similar to that of your users.

Call to Action

Even with the right context users will only zap if they know that there's content available, and how to access it. That's why a good call to action is important - it's the text and graphics that accompany your zapcode that direct the user to zap.

Clearly introduce the app
Since not everyone has Zappar on their phone (yet ;-) ) it's important to communicate its name, and that it's an app. With that information users will likely search their app store and take it from there. You get bonus points for displaying the app store logos as it helps users to recognize that their device is compatible with the experience.
Incentivize the user
Users may be reluctant to download an app, or may have been tarnished by poor scanning experiences in the past (e.g. a QR code) so it's worth indicating to the user what they will get from your zap. Perhaps it's a useful function (e.g. "zap to save my details"), or something fun or entertaining (e.g. "zap for nice game").

In most cases the space around a zapcode will be at a premium so try to find the best call to action that gets the message across but doesn't take up too much space. Try asking yourself the question: "if I didn't know how to zap would I be able to work out what to do" and tweak your messaging accordingly.


Needless to say it's very important that the content your deliver to your users is appropriate and relevant.

Deliver content that users will appreciate
As with all media channels it's important to make sure that you provide content that your users will want to consume. You may not get the user response you're looking for from content that is lackluster or serves only commercial purposes without any user value.
Ensure that augmented reality improves the user experience
There are lots of situations where augmented reality and/or scanning makes for a great user benefit. There are also situations where it doesn't help the user get to the function or content they want. If the user is better served by a mobile website or regular app consider those alternatives instead.
Do not serve objectionable or contentious content
Our terms of use forbid certain types of content that are offensive or illegal. Please don't publish codes that break these rules as we will have to close any infringing zapcodes and accounts without refund.

Providing great content is the key to engagement - users who have enjoyed their experience will share it with others and zap again in the future.

A Final Word

Once you've got the three C's sorted then you're well on your way to a successful Zappar Powered campaign. Tools like the Zapalytics data dashboard will allow you to see how well your zaps are performing and how your users are interacting with your content.

Since ZapWorks makes it easy to update content you may like to tweak and change your zapcodes in response to feedback from users.

Had a great campaign? Let us know at support@zappar.com!

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