Physical products equipped with connecting technologies like QR codes and NFC tags that activate contextual, interactive digital experiences automatically become smart products. And the products themselves become a new kind of marketing channel connecting brands with consumers like never before.

However, that new channel is wasted if consumers don’t know where or how to scan the NFC tag or QR code. This is where a great call to action (CTA) comes in.

Effective CTAs for QR Codes and NFC Tags

Consider the End Consumer

Creating an effective call to action is a science. It’s about appealing to the psychology of the viewer to grab attention. When driving consumers to interact with technologies they may not be very familiar with, such as QR codes and NFC tags, make engagement as simple as possible. Start by considering where you will display the CTA.

In general, there are two ways to inform users where they should tap your products:

  1. Include copy, NFC insignia and/or a QR code directly on the product itself. While this is often the most direct and accessible method, many products will not lend themselves to having instructions added directly.
  2. Include instructions externally. For products that do not directly feature the CTA, include a tag, sticker or other external piece of collateral with a CTA. Be sure to provide clear instructions on how the consumer should interact with the product.

Then make sure these CTAs get noticed.

Go Custom for a QR Code Call to Action

One of the best ways to make your QR code stand out is by creating a custom QR code. QR codes are not required to feature the familiar black and white color scheme. You can not only change those colors, you can add a company logo or even CTA language like "Scan Now!" directly into the code. For more, see how and why to create a custom QR code.

Additionally, be sure to follow QR code design best practices to ensure consumers can easily scan your code.

Include Easy-to-Understand Insignia and Copy for an NFC Call to Actions

NFC CTAs can include text, visual icons or a combination of both to indicate why and where consumers should tap.

Find sample NFC CTA copy below, and click the button to download a collection of visual icons that indicate users should tap to activate your brand’s experience.

Sample NFC Copy

  • Tap or scan for [incentive offered]
  • To access exclusive content, tap your NFC enabled phone to the NFC area on the product
  • For exclusive content, tap an NFC-enabled phone on the [location on product]
  • Use your smartphone to tap the [location on product]
  • Hover your phone here to unlock [incentive/advantage your experience provides]
  • Tap here
  • Unlock exclusive access to [exclusive content]. Simply tap the [NFC symbol on the product] to get started
  • Place phone over [NFC symbol on the product] launch the experience

Depending on your product and audience, you may also need to include further instructions on exactly how users should tap.

  • Unlock your phone
  • Enable NFC on your phone
  • Tap the [location on product]

Download NFC icons

Download NFC icons here.

Note: not all phones, including iPhones XR/XS, require unlocking before tapping. For more extensive resources on the actual NFC process, see our article (with videos) on how to scan NFC and QR codes. The article includes instructions on how to scan on different phone models, as well as what phones do not support NFC.

NFC and QR Call to Action Examples

Levy Gorvy: Warhol Women

Levy Gorvy immersed art gallery attendees in a digital experience that uniquely complemented the new curation of Andy Warhol’s portraiture of women.


The first NBA connected jersey, featuring NikeConnect
Photo from

NikeConnect introduced the first NBA connected jersey. Tapping activates access to athletes, exclusive offers and more on your phone.

Adidas AM4 Speedfactory

Instructions on how to use the NFC chip in the Adidas AM4 Speedfactory

Adidas included a sticker instructing users to activate the NFC tag located in the tongue of the Speedfactory AM4. A QR code invites for more interaction opportunities.

Official Match Ball

The NFC insignia on the Adidas official match ball indicates where users should tap

For the official match ball, adidas included the NFC insignia to signify where users should tap to activate an experience that includes exclusive content and information.

Staple Pigeon

When streetwear fashion icon Jeff Staple created a scavenger hunt to let fans help celebrate his 20th anniversary, he let icons on the custom keychain he designed direct users where to tap to find the next clue.

Pelican Water

Pelican Waters NFC-enabled products activate informative videos and more

A large icon featuring a hand and phone illustrated how users should interact with Pelican Water systems to activate an experience with informative videos and tap to call or text functionality.


A hang tag instructs users of the U.S. ski team jacket to scan a QR code or the NFC tag under the Spyder logo on the jacket.

Feb 12, 2021



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