Instagram is throwing open the doors to its advertising business today. Until now, a select group was handpicked to run ads on the Facebook-owned social network. Now, any businesses can get its message in front of the Instagram audience, which skews toward the Millennial generation.

As one of the early Instagram advertising partners, AdParlor has been running ads on the platform for months. We’ve learned a few things that might help you as you you’re planning your campaign.

Instagram Success Across Verticals

Brands are drawn to Instagram not only because of its coveted Millennial user base, but also because of the granular targeting available via Facebook’s user data. This has paid off handsomely for the first wave of advertisers; Instagram reports that 97 percent of measured campaigns generated "significant lifts in ad recall."

AdParlor has run the gamut when it comes to Instagram advertisers; here are a few success story snapshots from three of them:

eCommerce Advertiser Drives Installs

An eCommerce company approached us with the goal of generating app installs via Instagram. Over the course of the campaign, the app install ads drove a 17 percent lift in incremental monthly user acquisition. But more impressive was the efficiency of the campaign: the cost-per-install was 30 percent less expensive than on other digital channels!

Takeaway: Mobile installs are a massive opportunity. If brands—especially eCommerce and gaming companies—want to reach a younger audience, Instagram is a perfect social channel to do that.

Creating Awareness with Instagram

A retailer was launching a brand and needed engagement and awareness from its Instagram campaign. The client also had a question: how would the same campaign play across Facebook? To find out, AdParlor ran a side-by-side campaign on Instagram and Facebook. The brand was impressed with the results that included driving visitors to the retailer’s site on both social channels.

Takeaway: Even though Facebook and Instagram skew toward different audiences, there is a lot of overlap. Based on tests, AdParlor found that a significant number of users who are on Instagram also tend to check Facebook regularly. This is huge for advertisers, as they can now enjoy the benefits of both social networks via the same ad platform.

Generating User Acquisitions

A media subscription service targeted potential users on Instagram using the gold mine of Facebook data available to advertisers. This was a retargeting campaign, and it resulted in a 30 percent increase in the client’s weekly acquisition rate.

Takeaway: The key to reaching audiences is cutting through the clutter. Targeting enables a one-to-one connection based on what audiences actually want. With Instagram, you get the targeting benefits as brands have enjoyed with Facebook.

More Instagram Ad Choices

Two weeks ago as Instagram announced it was opening its ad platform to all businesses, it also revealed three more ad products and features to make it a more attractive destination for advertisers everywhere.

The first enhancement was the ability to use photos and videos in landscape mode—this gives ads a more cinematic feel.

The next bit of news was the inclusion of 30-second video ads on its platform to allow for more creativity and deeper storytelling.

Finally, a new premium product called "Marquee" is designed for wide awareness campaigns that fall into a short timeframe—events, for example, like movie debuts and new product launches.

Instagram’s Big Picture

With 400-million users, Instagram has quickly become one of the largest, most important social networks in the world. Its size, scope, mobile-first approach and its attractive user base alone would be enough to make Instagram a destination for advertisers. But with the ability to use Facebook user data to tailor ad targeting, it’s really a no-brainer.

While there might be a crowd of brands and agencies pounding on Instagram’s door to buy ads today, it’s also the best time to try its products: there will no doubt be more competition for space in the very near future. Now’s your chance to test, learn and generate ROI at a relative discount!

Want help with your Instagram campaign?