Exceeding its own guidance has become a hallmark of The Trade Desk (NASDAQ:TTD) in its brief tenure as a public company, and the programmatic advertiser once again was moving higher in Thursday's after-hours trading after posting another quarter of heady growth.

Revenue climbed 54%, to $72.8 million, for The Trade Desk's second quarter. Back in May, the Web-savvy marketing darling was eyeing just $67 million in revenue. Adjusted earnings nearly tripled, to $23 million, or $0.52 a share. The Trade Desk doesn't offer up bottom-line guidance, but the adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of $25.3 million it recorded blew past the $14.5 million that it was targeting three months earlier.

The Trade Desk at its Nasdaq trading debut.

Image source: The Trade Desk.  

It all "ads" up

The Trade Desk went public at $18 last September, and Thursday's after-hours pop sent the stock past $54. A stock that triples in its first year of trading must be doing more than a few things right, and in The Trade Desk's case, it involves landing well ahead of expectations in each of its first four quarters as a public company.

Advertising may not seem like a high-growth business, but The Trade Desk uses software to allocate marketing spend. Programmatic advertising, as it's called, is hot and The Trade Desk is proving difficult to let go for marketers once they go that route. It has kept customer retention at 95% or better for 14 consecutive quarters. 

The Trade Desk has made big moves during earnings seasons. The stock soared 30% the week it posted its first-quarter report, and that followed a 19% spike the week it served up its fourth-quarter results for 2016. It was a more modest 7% uptick the earnings week before that, but everything seems to be falling into place for a fourth-straight gain.

Once again, we find the Big Data-propelled platform provider boosting its guidance for all of 2017. The Trade Desk now sees revenue of $303 million, up from $291 million three months ago and $270 million five months ago. The adjusted EBITDA 2017 target over the past three reports has grown from $72 million to $78 million to what is now $88 million.

The Trade Desk is initiating its outlook for the current quarter, modeling revenue of $76 million and adjusted EBITDA of $21 million in the third quarter. The targets suggest top-line growth decelerating to 43% and a sequential dip in adjusted EBITDA, but naysayers know what happens when you assume that The Trade Desk isn't being overly conservative with its guidance.

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