Video: Stickyeyes wide open in a ping-pong interview

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CERTAIN sectors have had a torrid time in 2012.

But not the digital industry, which is expanding and creating new jobs and wealth in Yorkshire.

Craig Chalmers

Craig Chalmers

“If it’s not a boom it’s very healthy,” said Craig Chalmers, chief executive of Stickyeyes, a fast-growing online marketing agency based in Leeds.

“That’s a reflection of the talent that’s been available within the region. It’s long had a successful base in the creative and advertising communities and that’s been echoed in the online and digital arenas.”

It is thought that the rise of digital agencies has been matched by the decline of traditional agencies.

“I suspect there has been some convergence from traditional channels,” said Mr Chalmers.

“You don’t find many traditional agencies any more. Those that did not adapt died. They have transferred to digital channels.”

Stickyeyes specialises in search engine optimisation – helping businesses increase their profile online – and social media.

The privately owned company opened a new office in London this year as part of its expansion plans. It also has an office in Scotland. In the last financial year the firm recorded around £13m in revenues and is on target to achieve around £19m this financial year.

Stickyeyes appointed Tom Howard, a director from accountancy firm PwC, to the role of chief financial officer to help manage the company’s growth.

Mr Chalmers said: “The plans for the business are about trying to maximise our ability to service our ever-expanding client base and ultimately to try to enhance our offering overseas.

“It’s about helping our clients that have got multi-national coverage to sell and influence their customer base overseas.”

Last year Stickyeyes expanded into new space at West One in Wellington Street. The office is home to the company’s 104 employees – and a table-tennis table in a corner room.

Mr Chalmers explained: “It’s a great way to let off a bit of steam in the office for everybody who enjoys playing, for the competitiveness or just for the five-minute break outside of staring at your screen.”

A recent report underlined the importance of the creative and digital sector to Leeds and the surrounding area. The industry is made up of 6,000 businesses employing up to 42,000 people, according to the research by consultancy Ekosgen.

The report, by consultancy Ekosgen, predicts that the sector will grow by around six per cent over the next five years.

Nathan Lane, director at digital specialist Campfire PR, said: “Leeds has a vibrant digital sector that has shown good growth through the recession.

“It is vital that we continue to invest in the infrastructure this sector needs to thrive.”