Every marketer thinks they need an app—and most of them are wrong according to the SVP of Expedia. In Part 3 of our Masters of Mobile Data series, Aaron Price explains why, when, and how you should be investing in an app that will keep users engaged and pay off in the long run.

A mobile app might not even be worth your time and spend, says Aaron Price, SVP at Expedia, the world’s largest online travel services company — especially if you’re not going to do it right.

“If you don’t have a compelling reason for someone to engage with you in a mobile app, you’re going to fail,” Price says. “Because there’s not a lot of difference between opening a browser and opening an app — and most people are already in a browser already all day long on a mobile device.”

One of the biggest challenges is the noise — the plethora of mobile apps in all categories that are clamoring for space and attention on users’ smartphones. You need to hook those users fast, and hook them first. And most importantly, give them a reason to open your app up again and again.

“Typically, once they get into one app in a category, people usually don’t start using multiple apps within that same category,” warns Price. “Unlike the internet, unlike websites, it’s fairly uncommon for someone to download all the competition’s apps and mix between them. They’re sticking to one app that they prefer.”

But still companies keep creating apps, and when they manage to get their most loyal users to download it, the app languishes, forgotten. What gives?
That’s the even bigger challenge. “The first piece is that you can’t necessarily assume that you can take your existing interaction model and just put it into a mobile app and assume that people will want to use it more or be more likely to use it,” says Price. “You have to have some unique functionality. Some compelling reason for users and consumers to want to be in the mobile app.”
Some of that could be speed, which is a frequent driver behind app development, but users are looking for reasons to believe.

Expedia offers everything from technical and product-oriented features such as unique alerts and notifications for every step of your trip and fully-functional trip organizational tools to sales, offers, and bargains only delivered to the mobile app user.
How you get the app in front of potential users is also far more important than most marketers realize, Price adds.

“While app stores are great and app store optimization is important and paid app download campaigns are important, you’re still going to get the vast majority our your downloads from your own site and your own users,” he says. “In ads and calls to action on your site, you have to give users a reason to first download the app, and then you have to give your users a reason to open it.”

The barriers to entry are tough to overcome in the mobile app space, Price admits. But, he says, “Most companies will find that mobile app users become their most loyal and valued users.”

Price is joined by Rob Willey, VP of Marketing for TaskRabbit, who will together explore the overall topic of maximizing the lifetime value of app users.

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

Join this exclusive VB Live event and learn how to: 

  • Use the right technology to maximize LTV of app users
  • Optimize each user engagement to avoid app abandonment and churn
  • Apply acquisition-engagement tactics such as: pre- and post-install segmentation, organic growth, retargeting and reward-based acquisition

Speakers include:

  • Aaron Price, SVP of Marketing, Expedia
  • Rob Willey, VP of Marketing, TaskRabbit 
  • Jillian Burnett, Director of Customer Success, mParticle
  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat


  • Rachael Brownell, VentureBeat

This VB Live event is sponsored by mParticle.