The Trade Desk Model is Growing as Weeds Climb up Walled Gardens
Shares of The Trade Desk (NASDAQ: TTD) are soaring after the company reported stellar earnings after the market closed on November 8.
Traditional Digital advertising faces headwinds, The Trade Desks tock stands to benefit
Shares of The Trade Desk (NASDAQ: TTD) are soaring after the company reported stellar earnings after the market closed on November 8. The digital advertising company posted earnings per share (EPS) of 18 cents which beat analysts’ expectations for 15 cents EPS. Revenue also came in higher than expected at $301.10 million.
Both numbers were significantly higher on a year-over-year (YOY) basis. And, as CEO Jeff Green said on the earnings call, the numbers exceeded the company’s expectations on a YOY basis.
However, with TTD stock now 40% higher than its closing price of $68.55 on November 5, 2021 it’s fair to ask if it’s too late for investors to jump on board. And that’s what we’ll attempt to answer in this article.
Digital Advertising is Still Advertising
Digital advertising is unquestionably the way of the future. This is expected to become a trillion-dollar industry very quickly. However, it’s important to note that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Ultimately, digital advertising is a delivery method. The objective remains the same; to get ads in front of the consumers that are likely to buy. And that can be done using a shotgun approach or a rifle approach.
The most common delivery method for digital advertising is through the walled gardens of Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and the like. These companies have the advantage of scale. That is, advertisers are guaranteed a broad reach for their ads (I.e. the shotgun approach).
This approach can be successful because, in many cases, advertising is a numbers game. And, for many years, these sites tracked your activity and more closely targeted what you saw to what you might be interested in.
Some people are fond of this approach. Others find it a little creepy and offputting. That’s why the Facebook was openly warring with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) over the privacy options it was giving to consumers (I.e. “Ask App Not to Track”). And it would appear that iPhone users are siding with Apple as the recent earnings report of some of the tech giants make clear.
A More Targeted Approach
The Trade Desk takes a more targeted cloud-based “open internet” platform called Unified 2.0 (UID2). This model uses a single sign-on and encrypted email addresses to collect data and deliver targeted ads. This approach allows marketers to bid on ad space in real time, benefits content providers by allowing them to more closely target their ideal customers. And it also gives them more ways to manage and measure their ad spending.
Why is this important? Earlier this year, TTD stock climbed when Google announced that it was delaying its decision to remove third-party cookies to track internet users from 2022 until 2023. But while the Trade Desk does rely on Google for a portion of its revenue, cookies don’t play a role in mobile and connected TV (CTV) ads that make up a large chunk of The Trade Desk’s business.
Overvalued or Undervalued?
On June 17, The Trade Desk executed a 10-for-1 stock split and TTD stock soared. However, the stock dropped 32% from that high price of $97.28. This sell-off seemed overdone and a strong earnings report seems like just what investors needed to see.
The same might be said of analysts. According to data tracked by MarketBeat, seven analysts have upgraded or boosted their price target for TTD stock since November 8. And in some cases, the new price target is significantly higher than the stock’s current price. When stock’s get revalued upward, it’s nearly always a sign of bullish price action.
However, it’s worth noting that heading into earnings season there was a strong argument that TTD stock was overvalued. As recently as the beginning of November, The stock was trading at over 100 times (103x) forward earnings and 34 times trailing sales. Which explained why shares were trading lower as of November 5.
Your decision on TTD stock depends on where you see the future of digital advertising moving. I find the company’s open internet approach appealing, and I believe advertisers will as well.