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Mobile ad networks join forces to promote Haiti relief efforts

Mobile industry leaders such as Millennial Media, AdMob, Jumptap, Ringleader Digital, Microsoft Advertising and Eyeblaster have partnered to broaden the reach of the American Red Cross? SMS donation drive for Haiti.

The companies donated time and ad-serving fees to promote the Red Cross campaign across multiple sites that donated their inventory for the program. Sites such as MSN Mobile, Hotmail and E! Online feature banner advertisements that let consumers click to learn more about how to donate.

?We were contacted by numerous organizations to support their efforts to generate mobile donations on behalf of the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti,? said Erin ?Mack? McKelvey, senior vice president of marketing at Millennial Media, Baltimore. ?We agreed without hesitation. 

?Haiti?s financial needs are tremendous,? she said. ?The donation messages must continue into the foreseeable future and we are thrilled to see the mobile channel being utilized as the most immediate channel to fund these critical efforts. 

?More than $30 million being raised via mobile giving alone is staggering, and it shows mobile?s incredible power of immediacy and relevancy?

Millennial Media is a mobile ad network.

Reaching the instant givers
The campaign was designed specifically for the convenience of consumers to donate via their mobile devices.

Ms. McKelvey said Millennial Media supported the promotion of MTV?s ?Hope for Haiti,? which was in turn supported by the greatest digital distribution and support of any televised fundraising event in history.

Millennial Media is supporting both the Red Cross and the Yele campaigns through two different mobile giving platforms.

The Red Cross call-to-action- asks consumers to text the keyword HAITI to the short code 90999 to donate $10.

The Yele call-to-action asks consumers to text YELE to 501501 to donate $5 or the keyword HAITI to donate $10.

One of Millennial?s publishers donated 10 million impressions per day for 30 days, which has resulted in thousands of clicks to donation landing pages.

Dan Olschwang, president and CEO of Jumptap, Cambridge, MA, said mobile advertising was the best way to augment and expand the reach of the Haiti SMS campaign  because it is on the same channel as the call-to-action.

?The whole market joined forces to get behind this incredibly worthy cause,? Mr. Olschwang said. ?In times like this, it is crucial to lead by example.?

Jumptap is also a mobile advertising network.

Mobile on the rise
Mobile took center stage in Haiti disaster relief efforts for many reasons.

Consumers have donated more than $30 million to the Red Cross via SMS.

In one day consumers donated more via mobile than they did in all of 2009 (see story).

Mr. Olschwang said mobile played a big role because it remained the only communication channel for victims and relief workers to communicate with the outside world.

Consumers also saw how easy it would be to contribute to the relief efforts ? all it took was one text message.

Mr. Olschwang said the use of mobile advertising contributed by the ad networks will greatly expand the reach of the message through the most powerful and personal media channel.

?This  is a total paradigm shift for charities as mobile connects with extremely large audiences that traditional funding raising efforts would not normally reach ? like teens and young adults,? Mr. Olschwang said. ?The ease and ability for such a broad mass market to see the message, respond and contribute a small amount of money will make a huge difference in the amount of funds raised and forever alter the traditional 80 ? 20 rule of fundraising ? mobilizing a whole new group of people who can now make an enormous impact.?

Bob Walczak, CEO of Ringleader Digital, New York, said his company is going to work with mGive to let the same ad networks launch campaigns for future disaster relief efforts.

Ringleader Digital is a provider of technology to leverage rich user data for targeted, trackable advertising and real-time visibility into campaign performance.

Mr. Walczak said the overwhelming use of mobile to aid in the disaster relief efforts demonstrates the effectiveness and power of it as a medium that is starting to cross over and gain mass adoption in the mainstream media industry.

?This is the largest collaborative effort of the mobile advertising industry ever, and the American Red Cross is fortunate to have benefited from their concerted efforts,? said Roger Lowe, senior vice president of communications at the Red Cross, Washington. ?There's no doubt that they deserve part of the credit for driving people to 90999 HAITI at what has been an average rate of nearly $100,000 an hour.

?Thousands of people have given every hour because of the convenience,? he said. ?They can click on an ad and immediately give.?