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AOL Bets Politics, and Their Ads, Are Local

The selection of recent states looks to be politically influenced

Not long ago AOL talked about using their network of Patch sites to cover the upcoming 2012 elections in a very local way. With the announcement that they are adding sites in three states with early 2012 primaries: New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, the plan looks to be coming to fruition.

The idea is that with local coverage of elections they will be able to hook that audience, then interest those readers in their regional and national sites for more news coverage.

More importantly on the ad front, the big idea comes into play for local ad dollars. Patch has said from the beginning that they think they can better support local advertisers than the big sites. If they can become attractive to local politicians it will support their strategy of bringing in local ads for local coverage.

In suburban Chicago’s April elections, More than $200,000 was spent by candidates for the Barrington Hills (pop. 3,915) Village Board. That’s definitely the exception to the rule for most elections, but it shows an opportunity. If Patch can capture some of those local dollars, and readers, it will be a big step in their digital strategy.