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Pinterest CEO: We're focused on building 'an advertising product that really works'

  • Pinterest, which makes money through advertising, announced a partnership with Target.
  • Earlier this month, Pinterest said it had 200 million monthly users.

Social media upstart Snap may have braved the public market, but as of Tuesday, Pinterest doesn't have an IPO announcement in the works, the CEO said.

"Really, the company's focused on two things," CEO Ben Silbermann told CNBC's Julia Boorstin in an interview that aired on "Closing Bell."

"One is growing the user base .... and the second, of course, is creating an advertising product that really works — to bring in new customers, that's very measurable, that lets people see emerging consumer trends and merchandise against them."

Ben Silbermann
Michael Newberg | CNBC
Ben Silbermann

Pinterest, which makes money through advertising, announced that Target's app will use Pinterest's "visual search" tool. In essence, it would let users who are out and about take a picture of any product and receive a list of similar items at Target.

Silbermann declined to share Pinterest's revenue figures (which would be revealed during a public offering). But he said the Target partnership is an example of the kind of deal that supports Pinterest's massive valuation — pegged at $12.3 billion by CB Insights.

"Target was one of the earliest advertisers on the platform," Silbermann said. "It means they've seen really good results."

Pinterest's concept — which allows users to collect and categorize images, the way one might use a corkboard — is often adopted by users planning big events like a wedding or a remodel. But Silbermann said Pinterest's technology learns users' tastes, and generates suggestions to keep users hooked.

Earlier this month, Pinterest said it had 200 million monthly users.

Silbermann also said Pinterest's "safe" and "positive" environment — which tends more toward culture, recipes and fashion and away from politics and "memes" — has been an attraction for advertisers "over the last couple of years."

"It's been one of the reasons why we've been able to make a lot of progress with our advertisers," Silbermann said.