If Instagram had a Chief Operating Officer, it’d be Emily White.
White, 35, worked for Facebook and joined Instagram in April, nearly one year after the ~ $US1 billion acquisition. She is Instagram’s Director of Business Operations.
Since White joined, she has forced its founder, Kevin Systrom, to come up with a compelling mission for the company that can be pitched to advertisers within the next year.
Instagram has done a great job attracting users. It is up to 150 million monthly active members which means making money won’t be White’s biggest challenge. Once you have a massive visual platform, advertisers aren’t difficult to find.
But preserving Instagram’s user experience may prove tough.
It’s unclear what White’s ultimate advertising solution will be for Instagram. “I’m always looking at how to keep it simple,” she told the Wall Street Journal’s Evelyn Rusli in a recent interview. White is eying ads in Instagram’s search feature and in its popular images section, Discover. She’s not keep on in-stream picture ads that click through to a brand’s website.
White began her career at Google after graduating from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. There, she minored in art.
At Google, she worked in ad sales for AdWords. Sheryl Sandberg, who also worked for Google and now is Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, brought her over to run Facebook’s local sales and marketing efforts.
Most recently, White was Senior Director of Mobile Partnerships at Facebook. At Instagram, she has taken strides toward making the app attractive to brands. She’s helped establish a customer service team and she had the 50-person staff create a giant list of brands already on Instagram. She’s been meeting frequently with brands like Coca Cola and Ford. Another thing White will need is a way to provide future advertisers with campaign analytics (acquisition alert!).
You can expect White and her team to do a lot of testing on their way to a finished ad product, much like Twitter and Foursquare have done. Fortunately for White, there’s no rush.
“We want to make money in the long term, but we don’t have any short-term pressure,” White told Rusli.