What happened

Shares of programmatic ad-buying platform The Trade Desk (NASDAQ:TTD) soared in 2018, rising an impressive 153.8%, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The stock's rise during the year was driven by revenue and earnings-per-share growth that crushed analyst estimates. Momentum was helped by soaring ad spend in the company's mobile, audio, and connected TV channels.

Check out the latest The Trade Desk earnings call transcript.

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Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Much of The Trade Desk stock's gain in 2018 followed earnings releases. Shares jumped after the company's fourth-quarter earnings report in February, its first-quarter earnings report in May, and its second-quarter earnings release in August. The stock did pull back after The Trade Desk's third-quarter earnings release in November but eventually turned upward in the weeks following the report.

In all of the quarters reported in 2018, The Trade Desk beat analyst estimates for both revenue and earnings per share. 

Highlighting The Trade Desk's phenomenal growth recently, revenue in the nine-month period ending Sept. 30, 2018, climbed 54% year over year to $317 million. Non-GAAP earnings per share rose 52% over the same time frame. 

Now what

Management has been very optimistic recently, boding well for the company's continued momentum.

"Our investments are paying off," said The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green said in the company's third-quarter earnings call. "When we see surprises, they typically are to the upside."

For its fourth quarter of 2018, management guided for revenue of $147 million, implying 43% year-over-year growth.