A TRAILBLAZING Hampshire IT firm is planning to double its workforce to cope with its exploding workload.

Totton-based Switch is the only company in the UK pioneering a way of digital advertising and has now seen its profits rocket by 600 per cent in the past year.

Originally a £100 start-up, the firm is aiming to do for ad broking what automation did for the stock market.

Now it hopes to double its staff by creating up to 50 high quality jobs in its Salisbury Road base in the coming year.

The firm believes the relatively low overheads at its Hampshire premises, combined with its cutting-edge products that digitally brokers ads, means it is ideally placed to tap into the rapidly expanding online ad industry.

This year global spending in this industry is expected to be more than £3.4bn.

Chief revenue officer David Lane said: “We will easily have 100 people by the end of the year.

“We will have a combination of fantastic technology and some real people skills combined with vision in terms of the way the ad market is going.”

Industry experts predict that Internet advertising will increase its share of the market from 16 per cent in 2011 to 21.4 per cent in 2014.

Many of those ads are now being sold through automated trading, referred to in the industry as Real Time Bidding.

Mr Lane said being located in Totton with its road, rail and air connections, closeness to London and also the countryside made it the ideal spot from which to operate. Another factor is the lower cost base compared to the capital.

But crucial too, he said, is being located near to Southampton University, whose web science PhD training faculty leads in digital research, where they swap knowledge.

He said for the past year they have been working closely with them to share understanding of the world of online advertising.