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Earnings: Can The Trade Desk Keep Up Its Wild Growth?

Daniel Sparks, The Motley Fool

The Trade Desk (NASDAQ: TTD) kicked off 2019 with a bang earlier this year, posting revenue and non- GAAP (adjusted) earnings per share that crushed analysts' average forecasts for the two metrics. Strong execution from the programmatic ad-buying platform has impressed investors this year; shares have soared 114% year to date -- and that's on top of a 154% gain in 2018 .

The stock's sharp run-up, of course, means that investors have high expectations for The Trade Desk going into its second quarter, making the company's performance during the period all the more important.

Ahead of The Trade Desk's second-quarter update early next month, here's a preview of some key areas for investors to watch.

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Image source: Getty Images.

Revenue growth

The Trade Desk has seen rapid growth recently. First-quarter revenue increased 41% year over year, rising from $85.7 million in the year-ago quarter to $121 million. The top-line figure was well above management's guidance for revenue of $116 million during the period -- and it easily beat analysts' consensus forecast for $117 million. But this growth was notably a deceleration from 56% revenue growth in Q4.

For The Trade Desk's second quarter, management guided for revenue of $154 million. This translates to 37% year-over-year growth, marking yet another deceleration. However, as was the case in The Trade Desk's first quarter, the company is up against a tough comparison in Q2. Revenue in the year-ago quarter rose 54% year over year.

Non-GAAP EPS

The ad-buying platform specialist saw particular outperformance on its bottom line when it reported its second-quarter results. Non-GAAP earnings per share for the period were $0.49, up from $0.34 in the year-ago quarter and far ahead of analysts' consensus estimate for $0.25. This outperformance is due to the economics of The Trade Desk's business model, which allows for upside surprises in revenue to fall directly to the company's bottom line.

The Trade Desk's strong growth combined with its lucrative economics mean more upside in non-GAAP EPS is likely in Q2. On average, analysts forecast the ad-buying company's second-quarter non-GAAP EPS to be $0.69, up from $0.60 in the year-ago quarter.

Channel spend growth

Investors will also want to keep tabs on the growth rates of ad spend on the company's platform. In Q1, ad spend on mobile video, connected TV, and audio continued to shine. Spending on these important channels increased 60%, 300%, and 270% year over year, respectively, during the period.

Given these channels' importance to The Trade Desk's growth story, investors should look for similar growth rates in them during Q2. Of course, a deceleration should be expected, given how steep these rates are, but any deceleration should be moderate.

The Trade Desk reports its second-quarter results after market close on Thursday, Aug. 8.

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Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .