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The Trade Desk Posts Yet Another Monster Quarter

By Rick Munarriz – May 9, 2019 at 10:05AM

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The programmatic advertising speedster hit all-time highs last week ahead of today's financial update. Once again it earned the market's confidence with another better-than-expected quarter.

Advertisers continue flocking to The Trade Desk (TTD 6.10%) for allocation guidance on their marketing campaigns across media platforms. The leading provider of high-tech programmatic solutions to the advertising industry posted fresh financials on Thursday morning, coming through with a quarter of decelerating but still better-than-expected growth. 

Revenue rose 41.2% in Thursday's report, landing at $121 million during the seasonally sleepy first quarter. This is Trade Desk's weakest top-line growth as a public company -- and a deceleration from the 56% year-over-year surge it posted last time out -- but it's still well ahead of the 35% increase it was targeting in late February. 

Trade Desk executives at its NASDAQ-listed IPO in 2016.

Image source: The Trade Desk.

The message is the medium

Trade Desk's ability to disrupt the seemingly sluggish ad industry has made it one of the market's hottest stocks. The shares have almost doubled in 2019 and have nearly quintupled since the start of last year. Using algorithms to help flesh out more effective ad campaigns is giving brands more bang for their buck, and the growth is pretty impressive. Customer retention has checked in north of 95% for 22 consecutive quarters. 

Reported earnings and adjusted EBITDA didn't grow as quickly as Trade Desk's top line, but adjusted net income did manage to surge 51% to $23.1 million, or $0.49 a share. Trade Desk doesn't provide earnings guidance, but the adjusted profit was roughly double what analysts were modeling.   

Guidance consists of just revenue and adjusted EBITDA for Trade Desk, and it's encouraging to see both targets revised higher for all of 2019. The company now sees $188.5 million in adjusted EBITDA on $645 million in revenue for the year, up from $182 million and $637 million, respectively. Trade Desk is also initiating guidance for the current quarter, eyeing $46 million in adjusted EBITDA and $154 million in revenue. 

Trade Desk's new outlook for the second quarter points to continuing top-line deceleration, projecting just 37% year-over-year growth. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to move only 25% higher. Don't blame investors if they hold out for more. Trade Desk has consistently put out conservative guidance, landing 17%, 9%, 2%, and 9% ahead of quarterly revenue guidance through the four quarters of 2018. It's obviously kicking things off in 2019 on the right foot with Thursday's 4% top-line beat. The 37% uptick it's forecasting now is actually higher than the 35% increase it was targeting in the first quarter. Trade Desk knows that playing it safe is the best way to protect its shareholders, delivering beefy stock gains by landing one beat after the other.

Rick Munarriz 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.

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