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Market Share Gains Drive The Trade Desk's Continued Growth

By Danny Vena - Updated Aug 9, 2019 at 5:22PM

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A strong second-quarter earnings report for the programmatic ad platform is still outpacing the market.

Expectations were high going into The Trade Desk's (TTD -0.27%) second-quarter financial report. The company has been on a tear so far in 2019, soaring 134% since the start of the year. Investors were hoping the programmatic advertising specialist would continue the torrid pace of revenue growth that propelled its stock to recent all-time highs, and the company did not disappoint.

In its Thursday release, The Trade Desk reported revenue of $159.92 million, up 42% year over year, meeting analysts' consensus estimates and easily surpassing management's forecast of $154 million, though the company has historically been conservative with its guidance.

Profits were similarly robust. The Trade Desk generated adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of $58 million, smashing management's expectations of $46 million. This resulted in adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.95, soaring past analysts' consensus estimates of $0.69.

People sitting around a conference room table, smiling.

Image source: The Trade Desk.

Multiple growth drivers

The Trade Desk is continuing to focus on its omnichannel approach, and a look at some of the specific channels illustrates why the company is succeeding. Mobile video spending by advertisers grew 50% year over year, while in-app spending increased 63%.

While those metrics are impressive, some of The Trade Desk's newer revenue channels are producing even more eye-popping increases. Spending on connected-TV ads grew 2.5 times year over year, while audio increased by 270%.

Customer retention, another metric that points toward continuing success for The Trade Desk, remained above 95% for the 23rd consecutive quarter. Once advertisers see the results they achieve on the platform, they're happy to stay.

What the rest of the year and next quarter could hold

Based on this strong performance, The Trade Desk raised its full-year guidance for the second time in as many quarters. Management is now forecasting revenue of at least $653 million, up from an estimate of $645 million just three months ago. This would represent growth of 37% year over year. The company is also anticipating adjusted EBITDA of $201 million or 30.8% of revenue, up 26% compared to 2018, as The Trade Desk continues to use the bulk of its profits to fuel future growth.

For the upcoming third quarter, management is guiding for revenue of $163 million and adjusted EBITDA of $45 million, which would represent year-over-year gains of 37% and 23%, respectively.

The future's so bright, TTD's gotta wear shades

The Trade Desk continues to outpace the vigorous growth seen in both the digital advertising and programmatic segments of the industry. It also indicates that The Trade Desk is growing at the expense of its competitors.

In 2019, digital ads are expected to grow by 18% year over year to $333 billion, representing more than 50% of total global advertising, according to eMarketer. At the same time, it's anticipated that programmatic advertising -- the fastest-growing segment of the market -- will grow 19% to $84 billion. To put that into perspective, that's nearly five times faster than the overall advertising market, which is growing at about 4%.

Compare this to The Trade Desk's 42% year-over-year revenue growth this quarter, at twice the rate of overall programmatic growth, and you can see why Wall Street continues to be bullish on The Trade Desk. It might be on to something.

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