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Meet Yaroslav Kholod – Director of Programmatic Operations at Admixer

Today we have selected Yaroslav Kholod to take his interview. He is the Director of Programmatic Operations, Admixer. With over ten years of experience in online advertising, Yaroslav has been an instrumental member of the Admixer team since its very beginnings. He spent five years building the business’s publisher-side operations before shifting his focus to the programmatic ecosystem in 2016. He is responsible for the growth of Admixer’s demand and supply-side offering, ad-serving solutions, and developing comprehensive, user-friendly services for customers across the industry. 

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

We feel pretty good. The digital advertising industry rebounded and showed reassuring growth in almost every country across the globe. For instance, one of our native markets, Ukraine, became the 2nd in growth on the European continent according to the IAB Europe AdEx Benchmark 2020 Report

But, the growth is uneven; demand for certain inventory is discouraged by ATT on iOS, and 3rd-party cookie uncertainty, while CTV and audio ads rapidly accelerate in value. 

Overall, Admixer is in good shape, thanks in large part to our fairly diversified business model. We are a technology provider for advertising agencies, brands, and publishers. At the same time, we have service platforms built on our technology, for instance, Admixer.SSP, which I lead. 

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?

Admixer was founded in 2009, and I joined the company in 2010. I  was the fifth person on the Admixer team. Today, the company employs over 250 people across the region. We started a network of publishers in Ukraine, connecting them to the Admixer platform. The business developed rapidly. During our first year, we connected our first hundred publishers. Three years later, we expanded to about six hundred publishers and several offices across Eastern Europe. 

In 2016 we founded our own ad exchange, the Admixer SSP, to transfer inventory between Admixer networks from different countries. Since then, we have been expanding the best practices of working with advertisers and publishers, and as a result, we adopted RTB and connected the most trusted DSPs, SSPs, and ad exchanges. We have been refining the platform constantly: analyzing our optimization efforts, leveraging anti-fraud capabilities, and enhancing control over ads. Admixer.SSP supported IAB initiatives and pushed for ads.txt implementation on all its inventory. Today, it is among the world’s TOP 30 supply partners authorized by publishers across the web and app ecosystem. 

How does your company innovate?

We’re co-founders of IAB Ukraine and members of the IAB Tech Lab, where we actively develop industry standards. For instance, Admixer pushes for ads.txt implementation on all its inventory, seller.json compliance is a must-have for all our prospective partners. We focus on partnerships that maximize supply chain visibility and minimize the risks of getting unreliable inventory. Our clients get a complete toolset for supply path optimization. 

Our platform is ready for RTB 3.0, a more advanced programmatic protocol to filter out supply fraud. It has a safety hatch – Ads. Cert – that helps detect supply chain spoofing, such as ad injection. This solution is similar to digital signatures that let buyers verify inventory regardless of how many resellers it already passed through. Admixer advocates for the industry-wide adoption of this initiative, but unfortunately, major market players postponed the protocol implementation until less turbulent times. 

How is the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Covid forced us to reallocate our efforts and resources in line with the changing user’s habits. We directed our attention to the environment where viewership and engagement grew the most, particularly CTV, in-app and audio advertising. 

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

The biggest challenge was probably establishing a new workflow with most of the employees working remotely. Other than that, we maintain our priorities and stand behind our existing technical solutions. Of course, we proceeded with caution – optimized, set more stringent traffic requirements, and stopped using our server potentials so boldly. Despite the most favorable situation, the crisis pushed us to update our infrastructure and adjust operations with sluggishly performing inventory.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Since 2009, we have been developing our tech stack. By 2019, Admixer already assembled its own holistic set of technologies, which helped us get through the crisis without major turbulence. Moreover, we have released a new product, RTB Stack, a white-label ad exchange, based on the technology behind our SSP.

We made some minor software purchases for the needs of business development departments, but the majority of technical logging, filtering, and verification capabilities were developed in-house. This provides immense flexibility since we can postpone technical updates to modules that lose relevance while strengthening in-demand infrastructure. 

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

It is hard to pinpoint our exact competitors because Admixer is fairly diversified, and you would need to evaluate competition in several niches where we operate. Broadly speaking, our main competitors are companies like us, which operate on their own technology and infrastructure, and have a presence across the programmatic ecosystem. Basically, those are global adtech companies and mid-size regional players. 

At the same time, we cannot speak about adtech competition in a strict sense of the word.  All the major industry players cooperate; it is one of the principal achievements of the open web. The market is moving towards an interoperable ecosystem where most platforms exchange inventory with each other. In this market, platforms gain a competitive advantage through data expertise, optimizing traffic, segmenting it, and delivering measurable results to advertisers.

Your final thoughts

Google is postponing a plan to block third-party cookies until late 2023. This is excellent news. The industry got breathing room and more time to develop a convenient identity solution for the needs of publishers and users. Adtech got a window of opportunity to agree on and implement a high-level solution in conjunction with the W3C. 

In general, digital advertising is in good shape and projected to grow in double-digits for the foreseeable future; pandemic media consumption trends testify to that. The market is moving in the right direction. It still lacks a user-friendly privacy framework for both users and members of the advertising industry, but luckily we now have time. 

Admixer is an independent ad tech company that develops an ecosystem of full-stack programmatic solutions. Admixer has its own line of adtech products for brands, ad agencies, media houses, publishers, ad networks, and another buy- and sell-side industry players looking for effective ad management. Our customizable technology, in-depth expertise, and personal approach help businesses turn programmatic advertising into a scalable revenue channel.

Since our start in 2008, we’ve been on a mission to build an ecosystem with effective and transparent relationships between all players in the digital advertising industry. 

Today, the company has over 100 supply and demand partners, 3500+ customers, and 285 employees worldwide. We run offices in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, and legal entities in the UK and Germany.

In 2018, Admixer became an IAB member and initiated the launch of IAB Ukraine.


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