Tech Drivers
Tech Drivers

Pinterest's Joanne Bradford talks turning pins into profits

Big ad business powering Pinterest
Big ad business powering Pinterest

Pinterest—the site that lets users create bulletin boards based on themes like sports, travel or food—is just starting to pull the trigger and turn the more than 30 billion pins on its more than 750 million boards into profits.

Leading the charge is Joanne Bradford, who was hired last November as head of partnerships. She sat down with CNBC in an exclusive interview to talk about her plan to build on Pinterest's strengths—including the fact that 75 percent of its usage is mobile and it has a largely female demographic—in order to justify Pinterest's $5 billion valuation.

"We've got really big hopes and a great vision," Bradford said. "There are three things the consumer does on Pinterest—they discover, save and then they do."

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As an example of one way Pinterest is used that might translate into revenue, she cited the example of her 15-year-old daughter, who was pinning Crock-Pot recipes, though she didn't own a Crock-Pot. So Bradford went out to buy her one. "That can happen every day, and we think there's real value for advertisers in knowing what consumers are doing," she said.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The company has asked a few big brands—including Target, Unilever and Procter & Gamble—to work with Pinterest on its "Promoted Pins" advertising format to learn how to use the platform, said Bradford.

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Who's Pinterest's competition for advertiser dollars? Facebook, among others, though Bradford said she's not concerned about going up against the giants.

"The thing is, Pinterest allows a brand to be who they are—it's not just about re-targeting. It's about being where (people) are doing those things, like planning a trip, redoing your house, rebuilding a motor cycle," she said. "We think we've got real intent and signal to help a marketer."