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The Beat Is the Message at The Trade Desk

By Rick Munarriz – Aug 9, 2019 at 8:05AM

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The programmatic advertising speedster once again exceeds its conservative guidance in the second quarter.

Advertising may not seem like fertile turf for growth investors, but The Trade Desk (TTD -2.97%) continues to sprout. The top dog of high-tech programmatic solutions for the advertising industry delivered healthy gains for its second quarter after Thursday's market close. 

Revenue rose 42.4% to hit $159.9 million for the three months ending in June, accelerating from the 41.2% year-over-year gain it posted last time out. The Trade Desk also beat its top-line guidance calling for a 37% ascent, but that's not much of a surprise. The company has routinely cranked out conservative outlooks, landing 17%, 9%, 2%, 9%, and 4% ahead of its five previous quarterly revenue forecasts, respectively.

Reception desk at The Trade Desk with a customized license plate and the distinction of it being one of the best places to work in New York City.

Image source: The Trade Desk.

Machine learning

The Trade Desk's platform helps marketers allocate their ad budgets across all new and old media types using algorithms to optimize placement. Clients seem to be happy, as revenue growth has topped 40% every quarter since going public three years ago with customer retention rate above 95% for 23 consecutive quarters.

Moving to the other end of The Trade Desk's income statement, reported earnings and adjusted EBITDA grew faster than its top-line pace, something that didn't happen in the first quarter. Adjusted net income soared 68% to $45.6 million, or $0.95 a share. The Trade Desk doesn't issue earnings guidance, but it has now beaten analyst profit targets by at least 30% over the past five quarters.

Once again we find The Trade Desk raising its full-year guidance. Revenue is expected to be at least $653 million for all of 2019, up from its forecast of $645 million three months ago. It sees even stronger improvement in adjusted EBITDA, now modeling $201 million -- 30.8% of revenue -- up from $188.5 million.

Guidance initiated for the current quarter on Thursday calls for $163 million in revenue and adjusted EBITDA of $45 million. The company's top-line outlook would represent a 37% year-over-year advance, but we've seen how that played out in the past. One thing to note is that if The Trade Desk is able to grow its revenue by more than 42.4% in the third quarter, it would be the first time that it delivers back-to-back quarters of accelerating revenue growth as a public company.

The Trade Desk stock has been a world beater. It's a 15-bagger since going public three years ago, soaring sixfold since the start of last year. With big gains come big expectations, but The Trade Desk has excelled at setting the bar low and then clearing it with ease three months later.

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 the following options: short January 2020 $125 calls on The Trade Desk and long January 2020 $60 calls on The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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