AdAge must have heard my request for statistics on QR codes because they just reported numbers for 2011 – and they don’t look promising.

Quick-Response codes or QR codes can be found on everything from ketchup bottles to billboards. The idea is to make static advertising more interactive with the use of mobile phones. We get asked all time whether or not QR codes are an effective promotional tool.

It looks like we can say with certainty that they are not. Only five percent of Americans who own mobile phones actually use the technology. Those that do use the technology tend to be young, affluent and male.

While the article from AdAge explores many reasons why QR codes aren’t effective, I found it interesting that so many companies still use them. In fact, the article couldn’t name a single well-known brand that had completely stopped using them.

There will always be a small portion of your audience who enjoys QR codes, but unless you’re targeting young, affluent males, why waste your time – or precious advertising space?