The Trade Desk (NASDAQ:TTD) shared some good news with investors on Thursday afternoon, likely giving shareholders a sigh of relief as coronavirus fears continued to weigh on the market. The stock jumped more than 6% in after-hours trading, fueled by the company's better-than-expected revenue and earnings per share.

Here's a closer look at the data-driven ad-buying specialist's fourth-quarter update.

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The Trade Desk Q4 earnings

Advertisers continue to allocate more money to programmatic, with total ad spend on its platform topping $1 billion for the first time. This translated to $216 million in revenue (up 35% year over year) and adjusted earnings per share of $1.49 (up 37% year over year). 


Q4 2019

Q4 2018



$215.9 million

$160.5 million


Adjusted EPS




Data source: The Trade Desk.

Revenue was higher than analysts' consensus forecast for $213 million, and adjusted earnings per share crushed an average estimate of $1.17.

Also notable was the tech company's impressive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Adjusted EBITDA for the period was $83.5 million, or 39% of revenue. Management had guided for adjusted EBITDA of $78.5 million.

"We continue to deliver strong revenue growth while also generating profitability that is significantly higher than nearly all other comparable software and internet companies of our size," CEO Jeff Green said in the company's fourth-quarter update.

Growth drivers

Ad spend on connected TV continued to serve as a significant catalyst for The Trade Desk, as more viewers shift to streaming TV and as advertisers shift more ad spend to streaming platforms.

Connected-TV ad spend on The Trade Desk's platform increased about 100% year over year in Q4 and 137% year over year for the full year.

Audio, mobile video, and mobile in-app also remain important catalysts for The Trade Desk, with full-year ad spend in these channels growing 185%, 50%, and 67%, respectively.

A bullish outlook

Perhaps the most encouraging takeaway from The Trade Desk's fourth-quarter update, however, was its outlook for 2020. Management guided for first-quarter revenue of $169 million, far higher than analysts' consensus forecast for $161.2 million. Furthermore, the company said it expected total ad spend on its platform in 2020 to come in at $4.24 billion. This implies an acceleration in full-year ad spend growth on its platform versus 2019.

The Trade Desk says its optimistic view for 2020 is supported by several trends, including some advertisers shifting away from walled gardens like Facebook and Alphabet's Google to The Trade Desk, a huge increase in connected TV ad inventory and demand, increasing demand from advertisers for live sports, and a growing interest in spending for political campaigns on its platform.

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