What happened

Shares of the The Trade Desk (TTD -2.31%) rose 11% during the month of July, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The ad-tech darling continued to rise during the month, as coronavirus surges kept people at home yet analysts predicted a return of advertising dollars to the market.

A magic marker writes on two strips of paper the words programmatic advertising.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Analysts became bullish on The Trade Desk in July, as optimism over an economic recovery (and therefore a rebound in digital advertising) took hold. Toward the end of June, Needham & Company reiterated that The Trade Desk is one of its top picks, largely due to higher expectations next year as the world recovers from the pandemic, as well as the company's improving competitive position.

Then in July, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill raised his price targets across the digital advertising universe (The Trade Desk included) due to better-than-expected channel checks in the advertising market through May and June. A few days later, analysts at Pivotal Research reiterated their buy rating on The Trade Desk on continued shifts to programmatic digital advertising over traditional TV ads.

The Trade Desk also geared up for more growth, hiring for several new positions during the month, including a chief revenue officer, an executive vice president for operations, an executive vice president for global data and strategy, and a new general manager for Canadian operations.

Now what

The Trade Desk reports earnings today, Aug. 6. Analysts are expecting revenue of $133 million and earnings per share of $0.20. Those would actually mark declines from the prior year, yet the stock has gone up, meaning the market is clearly looking forward to a recovery. Investors should therefore keep an ear out for management commentary on the advertising market in general and the programmatic ad sector specifically for 2020 and beyond.