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Cross-platform Campaign Management with SCID

Executive Summary:

SCID (Shared Campaign Identifier) is a key that enables tracking campaigns across platforms. This post describes the technical details of SCID and the use within OpenRTB.


OpenRTB enables advertisers to run campaigns in the real-time bidding (RTB) advertising marketplace. Typically there are a number of entities/tech platforms between the publishers and buyers – Supply Side Platforms (SSPs), Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), exchanges, etc. There are also a number of enabling systems like measurement vendors, Data Management Platforms (DMPs), etc. Even though OpenRTB is used across all (or most) of these entities, they all face lack of information and misunderstanding regarding the reconciling of campaign data around platforms. 

With the enforcement of laws and the advertising ecosystem getting more complex, the systems need to work better together transparently, while ensuring that user privacy is respected. Traceability is also an important goal. Even if you know technically how each individual platform works, you can still struggle from a lack of information regarding campaign display. For example:

  • On the sell side, the buyer behind a campaign is unknown or some data can be badly declared.
  • On the buy side, it can be difficult to see where the money goes. 

Challenge Addressed

When you examine the food chain as an example, any food or substance is strictly traced from the producer to the consumer in order to address risks and protect public health. The result is every side gets all the needed information. On the consumer side, they mostly know the producer and get all the info about the product. On the producer side, risks are minimized as they are able to identify the source of contaminated products and can either block the seller or reach the consumers. 

The goal is the same when you compare the food chain with the programmatic ecosystem because publishers and buyers want more traceability and transparency to track a campaign, which means:

  1. Traceability of advertiser campaign end-to-end
  2. Reconciliation of advertiser spend with publisher revenue
  3. Publisher to pull cross SSP advertiser report
  4. Better creative / advertiser assignment

What If We Spoke the Same Language with SCID?

The Shared Campaign Identifier (SCID) is a key that enables tracking of a campaign throughout its lifecycle. The goal is to keep following a campaign, provide more transparency, and bring the links in the programmatic chain closer during the reporting operations.

Trading desks are used to working with multiple DSPs. This unique and dedicated SCID field helps to efficiently track the campaign, regardless of the DSPs, and SSPs used.

Who Is Involved?

  • Advertisers
  • Trading desks (independent and agencies / disclosed and undisclosed)
  • Demand Side Platforms (DSPs)
  • Supply Side Platforms (SSPs)
  • Publishers (direct or through saleshouses)

SCID Specification

SCID = Advertiser ID + Advertiser brand + Advertiser product code+ Customer Product Estimate + Ext (optional)
  • Advertiser ID: This is the GLN (global location number), which is an existing international ID used to identify a company (advertiser). The registry of GLNs is managed by GEPIR (Global Electronic Party Information Registry), which allows identification of a company thanks to its GLN.
  • Advertiser Brand, Advertiser Product Code and Customer Product Estimate are defined at the advertiser’s discretion

Here is an example with a campaign from Publicis with Nestlé for the Olympics Games in 2020: “0050000000951+Nestlé+OG2020+Publicis

SCID Support Flow

The Consensual Requirement to OpenRTB

Following the OpenRTB protocol, the field was first evaluated as a potential way to communicate the SCID in the bid response. However, this one is used in many ways by the DSPs:

  • DSP generates automatically cid for each new campaign (a technical ID, vs. SCID who is a business ID).
  • DSP sends other data via this field (ex: buyer info)
  • DSP does not use this field because it does not want to share sensitive data.
  • DSP does not use/support this field at all.

Figure 1. Without SCID (current situation) : One campaign with many IDs or nothing.

As we can see above, cid is used for many different reasons or is not used at all. That’s why we need to create a new field in order to track SCID. This new field will help to get an official process and will avoid custom and costly developments on the SSP and DSP.

How SCID Works

  1. The advertiser sends a media brief with its own information (brand, product, targeting etc.) to the trading desk. This brief must contain enough data to generate SCID.
  2. With the advertiser’s brief, the trading desk sets and gives the input to the campaign within the DSPs. During the setup, the trading desk ensures the SCID is set correctly.
  3. DSPs deliver the campaign.
  4. SCID is carried within the Bid response. Campaign is tracked by SSPs and the publishers, thanks to SCID received in the bid response.

Figure 2. With SCID : One campaign with only one ID.

During and/or at the end of the campaign display, all the intermediaries in the programmatic chain can compare the data with SCID.


A group of companies have been trying out SCID already:  

  • 366
  • Adysseum
  • Xandr
  • Au Feminin
  • Boursorama
  • Citroën
  • EDF
  • Group M
  • Havas
  • Index Exchange
  • Kingfisher
  • La Poste
  • Ligatus
  • MAAF
  • Média Figaro
  • Mediamath
  • Nestlé
  • Orange
  • Publicis Media
  • PrismaMedia
  • S4M
  • Smart AdServer
  • TF1 Publicité
  • The Trade Desk
  • Tradelab
  • Unilever
  • And more…

We have been testing the concept and believe that it has real value in improving transparency and traceability. The proof of concept we ran indicated that revenue discrepancy could be reduced by at least 3-4%.  

The SCID spec is now available within the IAB Tech Lab GitHub (at as an extension in order to support SCID in programmatic transactions. This allows anyone (tech platforms, publishers, buyers) to use it and also to provide feedback on the usage. As with other features, the working group will consider inclusion in the OpenRTB/AdCOM specs in the future once there is adoption across the ecosystem. 

We invite – and recommend – everyone to evaluate and implement SCID, and help improve transparency and campaign traceability across the advertising ecosystem.


Julien Delhommeau
Staff System Architect

Alexandre Nderagakura
Technical Director
IAB Europe

Amit Shetty
Vice President, Programmatic & Partnerships
IAB Tech Lab