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Bidding and Optimization

Home > English > Bidding and Optimization > Bidding Basics > Budget Optimization [Marin Search]

Budget Optimization [Marin Search]


The Budgeting tab in the platform provides both Budget Pacing and Budget What-if simulations to help you plan and optimize your monthly budgets. Pacing allows you to forecast your publisher spend for the current month, while What-if summarizes various spend targets and the corresponding KPI (key performance indicators) for the current month.

If you're looking for a way to plan and optimize your monthly budget that little bit better, the platform's Budget Optimization features are just what you need. 

You can find these features by navigating to the Home tab and clicking on the Budget sub-tab.

The Benefits Of budget optimization

Here's why this feature can be very handy as an advertiser:

  • You can see a forecast for how much you will spend during the current calendar month.
  • The forecast takes day of week and day of month seasonality into account when generating a forecast

Budget pacing

Budget Pacing enables users to view projected, actual, and cumulative advertising spend for the current month -- making the creation of your monthly budgets much easier. The bar charts show daily spend for the current month -- green represents actual spend and grey denotes forecasted -- while line chart represents cumulative with dotted lines showing projected spend for the current month.

To access the Budget Pacing Dashboard, navigate to the Home tab, click on the Budget sub-tab, and then you can toggle between the Pacing Dashboard and the Budget What-If tab.

Pacing What If 2.PNG

The budget pacing forecasts first calculates the base prediction using a recency-weighted 90 day look-back window. For even more precision, the feature also takes into account known temporal effects such as day of week, day of month, month of year and day of year seasonality. This require at least 3 data points for each seasonal effect. If a significant effect is found, it is filtered out of the data before the next check, to avoid double counting.



This ensures budget-sensitive users to get accurate insights on expected spend for the current month.  In order to explore and adjust monthly spend targets, users switch to the Budget What-if sub-tab.

Budget What-if

This feature allows user to visualize the allowable spend targets for the current month while also providing clarity on secondary metrics or KPIs such as clicks, conversions or revenue.

To access the Budget What-If tab, navigate to the Home tab, click on the Budget sub-tab, and then you can toggle between the Pacing Dashboard and the Budget What-If tab.

Pacing What If.PNG

Note: If you do not currently have access to the Budget What-If tab, please reach out to a platform representative to have it enabled. 

The chart x-axis represents the monthly spend target range, the y-axis the secondary KPI. The chart is interactive allowing user to see the current spend, which can be toggled via the slider, which updates the spend target on the chart and bar charts showing current and recommended metrics. Clicking Apply Recommendations will result in Marin Bidding targeting the new spend goal.

Note: Once you set your folder to Preview mode, it can take up to 24 hours for the Budget What-If tool to populate with data. If the platform is unable to generate a forecast for a particular folder, then the folder will be omitted from the grid and will be represented as a static component in the overall What-If simulations.


Exploring spend target scenarios via What-if triggers a Spend Reallocation algorithm that takes as input folder forecasting data points, target KPI  and monthly spend goal defined in the drop-down menu of the What-If subtab to determine the optimal folders to allocate new spend to. The reallocation is then translated to new folder targets i.e. ROI, CPA, Margin. These new targets can be viewed in the folder grid reported under Recommended Target.

Budgeting and folders

In addition to pacing and what-if charts, the Budget sub-tab also offers a customizable Folder SmartGrid, reporting on current month-to-date data. This provides full visibility in folders responsible for driving spend.

Moreover, folders are the building blocks for What-if budget reallocation. The What-if folder SmartGrid reports two additional columns Target and Recommended Target:  the target column shows the current goal, while the recommended target shows reallocation engine recommendations, if available. Movement of the slider will also update the most Recommended Target column in addition to the What-if charts.

A note about date ranges

The platform's Budget Optimization feature allows you to select from a variety of calendar cycles, including: current week, current month, current quarter, and many more. By choosing a different date range, you'll gain a better understanding of how well your pacing is working. You can then adjust your goals based on the data provided by the platform's What-if simulations.

The 4-5-4 calendar

The platform also supports the retail 4-5-4 calendar, although you'll need to speak to your platform representative to have this enabled for your account. When using 4-5-4, selecting the current month will reflect the 4 or 5 week of the 4-5-4 calendar month. Similarly, when selecting the current quarter, the selected date range will include the 13 weeks of the current 4-5-4 quarter. Learn more about the 4-5-4 calendar here (external link). 

Important Notes

  • Currently Google/Microsoft Shopping campaigns, Dynamic Search Ads, and Awareness Targeting bidding folders are not supported by the budget optimization tools.
  • Be sure to speak to your platform representative in order to have this feature enabled for your account. 
  • Budget Pacing uses the data from across your account to generate its forecasts, rather than the data from active folders only.

  • Budget What-if reports on allowable spend for the entire account, however, the spend reallocation only applies to Search only Non-Position folders on PREVIEW or TRAFFIC.

  • You do not need to be actively using Marin Bidding for the forecasts to be visible.

  • Spend reallocation modifies folder targets. Campaign budgets are not changed. 

  • The reallocation will only apply to folders on TRAFFIC when Apply Recommendations is clicked.

  • Changing folder constraints will disable Apply Recommendations until the next spend reallocation engine cycle, which runs every morning at 9:30am local time.

  • For low resolution monitors, you may not be able to scroll through your folders. To fix this, simply zoom out of your browser (CTRL or CMD and minus key).

  • When applying What-If recommendations the new target settings are not applied to the stretch target. e.g. you currently have set objectives to a Target CPL of 8 $ and a Max CPL (stretch target) of 10 $. The What-If recommendation is 6 $. When you apply the recommended setting the Target CPL will be changed to 6 $ but the stretch target will remain at 10 $. This would need to be changed through the Folder settings.


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