The Trade Desk Inc. (TTD - Free Report) reported third-quarter 2017 earnings of 35 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9 cents. Moreover, the figure improved 45.8% from the year-ago quarter.
Total revenues were $79.4 million, up 50% from the year-ago quarter. The figure beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $77 million. The strong growth reflects improving contribution from mobile (In-App, Video and Web), which accounted for 40% of total customer spending.
Based on the solid results, management raised 2017 guidance, which however, failed to appease investors. Shares have declined more than 18.4% in the last two trading sessions.
We believe that the downside reflects management’s cautious approach regarding lower spending from some large advertisers. However, Trade Desk noted that the advertisers have become selective in spending their ad-dollars. Their growing preference for programmatic advertising bodes well for the company in the long run.
Nonetheless, the selectiveness can delay spending, which doesn’t augur well for Trade Desk in the near term.
Additionally, some companies in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail industries are reducing their advertising budgets to relieve margin pressure. This doesn’t bode well for Trade Desk in the near term.
Further, the company stated that events like the bankruptcy of Toys “R” Us does affect the growth trajectory (although in small amount) in the near term.
Nevertheless, we note that the stock has returned 74.9% year to date, substantially outperforming the 23.9% rally of the Internet Services industry.
Omni-channel solutions continue to be the bread and butter segment for Trade Desk as the industry keeps gradually shifting to transparency and programmatic buying. On a year-over-year basis, Mobile in-app, Mobile video and Connected TV improved 77%, 140% and 159%, respectively.
Native spending was very strong in the reported quarter, surpassing the level attained through 2016. Customer retention rate was 95% in the reported quarter.
Region-wise, Germany, the U.K. and Southeast Asia grew 131%, 82% and 123% on a year-over-year basis, respectively. Seoul surged 260%, while Singapore grew 123% from the year-ago quarter.
Adjusted EBITDA surged 47.3% year over year to $24.4 million, driven by higher revenues.
Reported operating expenses, as percentage of revenues, surged 520 basis points (bps) to 76.8% in the quarter. The upside can be attributed to higher technology and development expenses that soared 280 bps from the year-ago quarter. Moreover, platform operations expenses surged 220 bps. Further, general & administrative (G&A) expenses increased 170 bps.
These were partially offset by a 150-bps decline in sales & marketing (S&M) expenses.
As a result, reported operating margin contracted 520 bps from the year-ago quarter to 23.2%.
For fourth-quarter 2017, Trade Desk anticipates revenues of $101 million and adjusted EBITDA of $34 million.
Trade Desk currently anticipates revenues at $306 million, up from the previous guidance of $303 million, for 2017. Management expects adjusted EBITDA to be $90 million, up from $88 million.
For 2018, Trade Desk expects spend in connected TV to increase by more than 100%.
Moreover, international growth is anticipated at approximately double the U.S. business. Management expects footprint to expand, particularly in China.
Further, the amount of third-party data usage is expected to increase in 2018. Management believes that partnerships with companies like Oracle Corporation (ORCL - Free Report) , Acxiom Corporation (ACXM - Free Report) , Lotame and others will drive growth next year.
Zacks Rank & Key Pick
Trade Desk carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
Autohome Inc. (ATHM - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), is a stock worth watching in the same sector. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Long-term earnings growth for Autohome is currently pegged at 18.8%.
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