What happened

Shares of The Trade Desk (NASDAQ:TTD) rose 51.6% in April, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The digital advertising specialist didn't have much news of its own last month, but the stock bounced back from an equally news-free drop in March and picked up steam when online ad giant Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) reported strong results.

So what

Shares of The Trade Desk fell 32.8% in March as investors feared weak ad sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. April brought a more optimistic view of the public health crisis and its impact on economies around the world, and Alphabet underscored this bullish view with a solid first-quarter report. Ad sales under the umbrella of Alphabet's Google subsidiary rose 17% year over year, matching the growth rate seen in the fourth quarter of 2019. The Trade Desk's shares surged 14% higher the next day alone.

An office worker holds on to his desk for dear life as it takes off on a jet-powered flight.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

The company's own first-quarter report arrived in the first week of May, and share prices held steady after The Trade Desk exceeded Wall Street's expectations across the board.

On the earnings call, CEO Jeff Green compared the current business environment to driving a race car through a cloud of smoke. Nobody knows what's coming up in the next few yards, but the race car driver knows this track by heart and the long-term future will look great once the smoke clears.

Advertisers will need help to retool their ad campaigns for whatever comes next, and The Trade Desk is ready to help. That's why this company has delivered a 66% full-year stock return despite the sudden drop in March. We're looking at a growth stock for the ages here.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.