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GDPR was supposed to bury ad tech, but The Trade Desk is soaring — and it sees a new opportunity to attack Google

Category: Home Tech
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trade desk
The Trade Desk founder and CEO Jeff Green.
The Trade Desk


The programmatic advertising bubble hasn’t burst yet, according to The Trade Desk’s earnings.

In fact, execs said that recent moves from Google to prepare for huge consumer data regulations in Europe have opened the door to bigger revenue potential during the firm’s earnings call on Thursday.

During the second-quarter, The Trade Desk made $112.3 million, a 54% increase from $72.8 million during the same quarter in 2017.

Specifically, the company said its revenue from connected TV advertising “more than doubled” between the first and second quarter of 2018. Revenue from mobile meanwhile increased 100% year-over-year to account for 45% of advertisers’ spend.

The Trade Desk raised its 2018 outlook, and said it expects full-year revenue to hit $456 million.

“We executed well in one of the most dynamic environments we’ve seen,” Green said. “We often see a game-changing event or two impacting the industry in any given year — however in Q2, many significant events occurred in the industry.”

GDPR hasn’t cut into ad spend yet

One of those areas that Green talked about is the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation that rolled out in May.

The new regulation makes it harder for brands to use data to serve and measure digital ads without explicit permission from consumers — but it hasn’t seemed to have a significant impact on The Trade Desk, Green said.

In fact, the company’s international revenue, which comes from Asia and Europe, jumped 85%. Within Europe, The Trade Desk operates in the UK, Spain, Germany and France.

“GDPR did not diminish spend over the quarter,” Green said. “In fact, the trust we built with our partners and customers was massive and we even won additional spend because of GDPR.”

Google’s loss could be ad-tech’s win

Green — who often talks about building a platform with more data than the duopoly of Facebook and Google— spent a significant portion of time during the call detailing a recent change to Google’s data policies that could open up the door to more business.

In April, Google closed a program that allowed advertisers to use its DoubleClick ID when using data transfer services. The DoubleClick ID powered reporting and measurement across Google properties including YouTube and DoubleClick Campaign Manager (or DBM).

Essentially, Google’s move made it harder for brands to reconcile data from campaigns running on Google’s sites with ads elsewhere on the web.

“Sharing the ID enables third-party reporting to measure Google’s performance objectively — the ID makes it possible for marketers to compare YouTube, Google and DMB to the other parts of their media plan [and] taking this away weakens the value proposition,” Green said.

According to Green, the move helped Google prepare for GDPR —and indirectly yielded good news for his company’s business.

“In my view, Google’s decision to remove this ID offering is driven by their increasing need to remove risk against malicious data enablement — like what we saw Cambridge Analytica do with social data,” he said. “The risk exists because Google at the fundamental level of their business, transacts in directly and identifiable consumer data — Google knows so much about billions of consumers because of their core product, their search engine.”

He went on to explain that The Trade Desk doesn’t use the same kind of identifiable data “and because we don’t own a search engine,” the company’s open ID framework allows marketers to measure their ads in a more apples-to-apples way across websites.

“In our platform, we don’t even house email addresses, let alone provide hundreds of millions of people with their own email addresses — our value proposition is strengthened because of Google’s strategic ID policy change,” Green told investors.

Green went on to take further jabs at Facebook and Google in explaining The Trade Desk’s growing business that serves TV ads programmatically.

Because the average consumer today watches TV across multiple devices and there’s a growing number of so-called skinny bundles and streaming options, ad-tech companies are gaining access to more ad inventory that’s flowing into new types of video distribution.

That makes it harder for one single company to clamp down on the market — unlike how Facebook and Google dominate the digital advertising world.

“No single company dominates the market share in TV, so the industry is unlikely to see a walled-garden approach succeed,” he said. “The Google and Facebook playbooks for search and social do not seem applicable when no one can or will ever own as much market share in TV as Google has in search or Facebook has in social.”

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