Autopilot gives you the tools you need to take control of your Search and Ecommerce marketing budgets in order to maximize impact and return on investment. 

If you're working across channels, you have historically had to depend on a disconnected array of tools in order to to understand, plan, and execute your digital strategies. You're held to monthly or quarterly planning cycles, while also limited to setting daily or lifetime budgets for your campaigns. The publishers, including Google and Amazon, do not provide visibility into how performance is pacing toward targets. 

Autopilot solves these challenges by providing an end-to-end workflow that helps you create your plan, pace performance against those plans, and optimize keyword and creative-level CPCs. Using Autopilot, you're able to set a volume goal (spend, conversions, or revenue) or efficiency goal (cost per conversion, return on ad spend). 

Let's look at Autopilot in more detail. 

What Is Autopilot?

Autopilot is a unified optimization suite in which our planning, allocation, and bidding tools work together to help you maximize the return on your marketing investment. Using Autopilot, you can:

  • Plan - Identify optimal investment levels and budget allocation
  • Pace - Monitor spend levels throughout planning cycles and adjust targets as needed
  • Bid - Calculate keyword/product/ad-level CPCs and associated modifiers (device, etc.)

We'll break down each of these components in the following sections.


Under the Plan component of Autopilot, you can identify optimal investment levels and budget allocation by implementing Account-level or Strategy-level goals. We currently offer CPA, ROAS, and spend goals designed to monitor monthly spend.

We plan to introduce additional date range selections and targeting options in the future, so check back later for updates.


Under the Pace component of Autopilot, you can monitor spend levels throughout planning cycles and adjust targets as needed. This functionality estimates spend by day based on day-of-week, -month, and -year patterns. Our pacing engine then calculates updated Strategy targets to stay on pace to meet your total target spend and then pushes your updated target to MarinOne bidding. 


Under the Bid component of Autopilot, Marin will calculate keyword/product/ad-level CPCs and associated modifiers (device, etc.) in order to hit CPA, ROAS, or Monthly Spend Targets with responsiveness and accuracy across devices, geos, and more. This solution is great for 3rd party revenue tracking and longer sales cycles.

How To

If you would like to try Autopilot, please reach out to a platform representative. Once Autopilot has been enabled for your account, you can get started using it by following the instructions below. 

  1. The first step, as always, is to log into MarinOne. 
  2. Next, click on the Optimization tab from the left-hand navigation and select the Strategies tab. 
  3. From here, to create a new Autopilot Strategy, click the + Create new Strategy button ('plus sign' icon)
  4. Next, give your Strategy a name and input your Target. Your target will differ based on what type of targeting you've selected, so be sure to input your corresponding spend, CPA, or ROAS carefully.
    Using Autopilot, we offer the following options:
    1. Maximize Convs. to Spend Target allows you to maximize conversions while simultaneously maintaining a spend target. 
    2. Maximize Rev. to Spend Target allows you to maximize revenue while simultaneously maintaining a spend target. 
    3. Maximize Rev. to ROAS allows you to maximize revenue while simultaneously maintaining a ROAS target. 
    4. Maximize Convs. to CPA allows you to maximize conversions while simultaneously maintaining a CPA target.
  5. For the Maximize Rev. to ROAS and Maximize Convs. to CPA targeting options, be sure you turn on the toggle for Autopilot to differentiate this from other, non-Autopilot Strategies. 
  6. The Cycle drop-down will default to Monthly. We plan to add additional Cycle options in the future. 
  7. Lastly, click Create to save your new Strategy and enable Autopilot. 
  8. Once your Strategy is created, double-click on a Strategy name to launch the Side Panel. This is where you'll find various settings associated with your Strategy, including trafficking, rules, and more. When you're ready to launch your Strategy, you'll simply set your Traffic to Publisher setting to Traffic. To learn more about Strategies as a whole, check out our dedicated article here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Are Bid Targets Adjusted?

Campaign targets are updated once daily, factoring in the target and the spend to date.

Does Autopilot Adjust Campaign Budgets?

No, campaign budgets can start to limit spend; we adjust keyword bids to hit our desired spend. Campaign budgets should be set ~20% higher than desired spend.

What Channels Are Supported?

Autopilot currently works with Search and Ecommerce publishers, including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Are There Any Alerts If Spending Is Off Track?

No need, Autopilot automatically keeps you on pace. Of course, you have many reporting options available to you from the Strategies grid.

Can I Use Autopilot Across Strategies?

Not currently, but this is planned. You can always map the campaigns to a single Strategy in order to opt it into Autopilot.

How Are Awareness Targeting Strategies Included In Autopilot?

Autopilot will not adjust the targets for Awareness Targeting campaigns. The spend for these campaigns will be factored into the targets for the remaining campaigns.

Does This Work On Head And Tail Terms?

Yes, it works across the entire keyword portfolio within a Strategy.

Use Cases

Autopilot was designed with the following use cases is mind.

  • As a search analyst, I need to be able to tell my manager what the return will be if we increase our investment. 
  • As a search lead for an international brand, I need to determine the correct budget allocation across multiple geographies. 
  • As an agency, I need to make sure I hit my client's target budget. 
  • As an SMB agency, I need to automatically hit spend targets for a large number of clients. 
  • As a CMO, I want to make sure my team is investing the right amount and allocating to the correct channels. 

Getting Started

If you would like to try Autopilot, please reach out to a platform representative.

Written by Marketing @ Marin Software

Last published at: June 27th, 2023