The Trade Desk Runs What May Be Its "Worst Ad" Ever

The Trade Desk (NASDAQ: TTD), a programmatic digital ad-buying platform, is running a radical ad in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the San Jose Mercury News to drive home what makes digital ads so much more compelling than traditional ads. "Possibly the worst ad we'll ever run," reads one of the full-page ads in all capital letters. Of course, the ad explains in smaller print on the bottom half of the page that there's a better, "more targeted, data-driven approach...."

The ads spotlight The Trade Desk's data-driven value proposition for marketers -- a value proposition that's helping the ad-buying platform see surging growth as advertisers ramp up their spending on the platform.

About the ads

"Sometimes on an average day, you are sitting in a meeting and an idea is presented that is so good, it's hard to focus on anything else," The Trade Desk said about the new ad campaign in a blog post this week. "We had that reaction when we saw this print execution. And we thought 'why not?'"

The three ads, developed by ad agency VSA, each include their own bold statement about why print ads are so much worse than the data-driven approach its ad-buying platform enables marketers at advertising agencies to run. One ad reads, "Buying this ad was excruciating." Another says, "This pretty much goes against everything we believe."

Each ad complements these bold statements with an explanation in smaller print that points readers to The Trade Desk's ad-buying platform. For instance, one of the ads says:

"The next wave" really is here

While calling The Trade Desk's superior alternative to print ads "the next wave of digital advertising" may sound cliche, a look at The Trade Desk's mind-boggling momentum suggests the audacious words may not be an understatement.

In The Trade Desk's second quarter, revenue soared 54% year over year, driven by huge growth in ad spend on connected TV, audio, mobile, and video. Mobile ad spending, which includes in-app, video, and web channels, increased 89% year over year in Q2. Audio spend soared 191% during the same time frame. And second-quarter connected TV ad spending doubled sequentially.

The momentum isn't being driven just by digital ad spend growth, but also by The Trade Desk's compelling value proposition. The company's platform gives advertisers self-service, cloud-based tools to optimize and run data-driven digital ads across a range of formats. Marketers using The Trade Desk's platform, therefore, can deploy highly informed advertising campaigns, maximizing return on investment.

In other words, The Trade Desk is positioned right in the middle of what's arguably the hottest area of digital advertising. As The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green said in the company's second-quarter earnings release, "Programmatic is the fastest growing segment of advertising and the Trade Desk is going faster than anyone in programmatic."

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Daniel Sparks owns shares of The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.