How SEM is handled by Corporates

This first blog post is to share my experiences managing the growth and scaling online classifieds sites and apps  in the Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam (, China ( , , Philippines ( and in Myanmar ( into pre-eminent sites in these countries.

First question is to share how SEM is managed within a corporate such as 701Search Pte Ltd (which is a JV between Schibsted Media Group and Singapore Press Holdings).

SEM is primarily managed in-house by an in-house team of digital marketers who are Google Adwords certified and also Facebook Blueprint Certification trained. In that way, we can actively do the analysis of the business results and match it to our digital campaign spend and weed out the poorer non-performing campaigns in double quick time. This is backed by weekly data analysis of conversion which in this business is the ads inserted into our classifieds site as well as items reported to be sold.

The Digital marketing budgets are huge ranging from a spend of SGD$100k per month to  SGD$400K per month if the competition gets aggresive and we need to wrest control of the market share from incumbent competitors such as OLX (backed by Naspers).

Those were exciting times as my teams will work directly with Google & Facebooj Industry Managers and Adwords Specialists to optimize our campaigns. Having a direct line of credit payment with Google and Facebook also helps to ensure that our campaigns are running 24/7 and 7 days a week.

This is the first post just to share that digital corporates actively manage their SEM campaigns in-house to get a better bang for our buck rather than to outsource it to digital agencies who are often slow to get back on the campaign updates when they manage multiple clients with the same team and more often than not the analysts from the agency side have trouble understanding the essence of our business and the conversions that we need.

That’s all for today. Look out for my next post.

Francis Goh

Start-up SEM Coach


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