The Trade Desk made its latest earnings call this week, reporting a 74% annual increase in revenue, coming in at $53.4m for the three months to March 31, with chief executive officer Jeff Green claiming that a host of clients wins, including Procter & Gamble*, meant it has exceeded expectations in 2017.
Other figures highlighted in the filing include: mobile inventory (both in-app and web inventory, plus video) accounting for over a third of gross spend; native ad spend for the quarter surpassing total native spend for 2016; connected TV growing 200% year-over-year, and a 95% customer retention rate.
Additionally, the accelerated increase in customer wins, led the company to up its projected earnings for 2017 from $270m to (at least) $291m, with second quarter revenues forecast to be in the region $67m.
“Agencies and brands are becoming more holistic with their advertising strategies. They must think about coordinating all the channels and all the devices that they touch to the consumer,” said Green in a statement. “Programmatic gives them the power to choose more deliberately what to buy and how to message.”
Citing industry research, Green said that programmatic advertising will grow 31% in 2017, outpacing the growth of social media and online video spend, adding that Q1 was a period of “unprecedented level of growth” for his own company.
The opening quarter of any year has always been the slowest of the year, and the hardest to predict, but this year The Trade Desk shattered its earlier expectationsm, and grew five-times faster than Magna Global’s forecast for the growth of the wider digital advertising sector, he told analysts.
Answering questions on the company's accelerated rate of client wins during the quarter – and whether ot not this was being led by agencies or brands – Green said brands are increasingly taking a proactive role in their choice of adtech partners.
"Brands are participating in the process of deciding the buying tech more than they ever have before. I'm delighted at the way that many of the biggest are thinking about it," he added.
"While they want to be more involved, they recognize the value their agencies are adding and want to keep them involved in keeping the managed service."
In particular, he said this joint process was indicative of how P&G arrived at its decision to use The Trade Desk's demand-side platform (DSP), where it partnered with its agency of record during the decision process, with the key to winning such clients being the provision of granular data.
"The tools that we create mean they [advertisers] get to upload data and insights, which we protect at all costs because we're aligned with them by being bus-side only, and don't have any media. Then we extrapolate on that and go and use third-party data... tools are at the core of our offering," he added.
Green also went on to address some of the wider issues in the media industry that generated headlines in the mainstream press, noting that brand safety and fake news were top-of-mind for the company, and that it was doing its part to address them.
“If we’re not sure about content on a platform, then we don’t run ads on it,” said Green, acknowledging the YouTube brand safety outcry. He went on to add: “We have publicly stated that we are working to de-fund fake news.”
*Since publication, a spokesperson from The Trade Desk has contacted The Drum to clarify that the P&G client win did not contribute to its Q1 revenue numbers