What happened

Shares of programmatic advertising specialist The Trade Desk (NASDAQ:TTD) were on a tear in 2017, climbing an impressive 65.3%, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The stock's rise came on the heels of expectation-crushing results throughout the year, including skyrocketing revenue and net income. Notably, however, Trade Desk's 2017 return would have been much higher -- probably well above 100% -- if the stock didn't pull back significantly following worse-than-expected guidance for its fourth quarter.

A businessperson looking at a smartphone

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Driven by strength across all of its channels in each of its businesses, including mobile, audio, and connected TV, revenue surged from $130.5 million in the nine months ending Sept. 30, 2016, to $205.6 million in the nine months ending Sept. 30, 2017. During this same period, net income skyrocketed from $10 million to $34 million, up 233%. 

This strong growth confirmed Trade Desk's growth story as the company gained market share around the world.

Now what

Though Trade Desk raised its guidance for full-year 2017 financial results in its most recently reported quarter, investors have come to expect bigger growth than management guided for in the remaining quarter of the year. Worse-than-expected fourth-quarter guidance meant the stock pulled back significantly. Management said it expects full-year and fourth-quarter revenue of $306 million and $101 million, respectively.

TTD Chart

TTD data by YCharts

But management is optimistic about 2018, saying it is "excited about the momentum" it has as it enters 2018. 

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.