Abound Parenting increases mobile app user retention and engagement with Contextual.

About Abound Parenting

Abound Parenting’s mission is to empower parents to raise successful readers and critical thinkers, who can thrive in our ever-changing world.  Through the Abound app, parents can learn what skills to build at each stage of their child’s development and better understand each child’s strengths and weaknesses.

The issue

John Kelley, President and Chief Operating Officer for Abound Parenting, knew the Abound app had great features, and he was satisfied with the process for getting their users into the app. However, based on user feedback, he knew the company needed to improve user onboarding. But having an offshore dev team presented its own difficulties. Diverting development resources away from the core app features to a process like onboarding – and getting that to happen on a timely basis – proved challenging.


“What I was looking for was a more economic solution than relying on developers in another time zone to hardcode an effective onboarding process.  We needed some way to be able to do this by ourselves,” said Kelley.


The key thing for Kelley was finding a WYSIWYG solution to produce sequenced content within the Abound app themselves because they did not have access to designers. They needed a product that could produce effective Onboarding Guides, Tours and Tooltips quickly. The price point for the target solution was also important because Abound is a technology startup.

The solution

“We conducted research on a number of different solutions and Contextual seemed to fit the bill,” said Kelley. “I needed something that was highly flexible, because although we initially came at the issue from an onboarding perspective, there are also other features that we wanted to remind our users about. Fortunately, Contextual hit the mark on all of those,” said Kelley.


“From a personal perspective, the price point was a little higher than I wanted to spend,  because we have a small but growing user base. However, Contextual has proven to be a worthwhile spend considering what we get out of it,” explained Kelley.


“The most appealing feature of Contextual is being able to call on the pre-existing library of Guide templates and quickly adapt them for our own use.  A second appealing feature is being able to target Guides and Tooltips to specific users and user cohorts. The way Contextual has that set up makes it very easy,” said Kelley.


Kelley said he was initially a little worried about how much effort would be involved integrating the SDK. However, it only took one call with his offshore dev team and the Contextual support team to ensure that it went smoothly. The overall process was better than he would have anticipated. 

Key results

“We conduct regular qualitative research with our users, and we received good feedback on the onboarding guides.  In fact, our users thought the Guides and Tooltips were just part of our app, which is exactly what we were hoping for,” said Kelley.


The key result the company noticed right away was fewer “One-and-Done’s” which Kelley defined as users who install the app but never return. He didn’t assign the reduction in abandons entirely to Contextual but thought the service helped by giving his users a softer landing when they first installed the app. 


The other area where Contextual made a demonstrable difference was with completions of Abound’s “Check-In,” which the company knows is a driving factor for stronger ongoing engagement with the app.  “We know that if we can get a user to take the Check-In, they are much more likely to become a regular user.  Before Contextual we were limited to sending emails to encourage users to complete the Check-In.  With Contextual, we prompt users to take the Check-In after 7 days with a targeted Tooltip, and we can keep targeting that user cohort until they complete the Check-In. As a consequence, we have seen an increase in user engagement,” said Kelley.


“The third area where Contextual has helped us with bi-weekly announcements. Every two weeks we launch a new theme, and now we can announce that in-app using one of the Contextual Announcement templates. Contextual has saved us a lot of time because I don’t have to engage the dev team for any of our user communications. It gives me the ability to do things I normally wouldn’t be able to achieve without a developer,” said Kelley.


David Jones Co-Founder and CEO Contextual added “We feel very honored to be able to share in Abound Parentings mission”.

What's next?

 School partners asked Abound to make their app available in other languages, as, thus far, Abound has only been available in English. The company plans to include multi-language support in a future release, which will enable the company to present the app and all its content in other languages. 


“The concept is that families will be able to read and have conversations in their native language, but easily be able to see that content in English, and also hear the content in English via a planned new read-aloud feature,” said Kelley.  “This next phase is important to us because many schools want programs and services in multiple languages because of the cultural diversity of their students and families.”


“This is where we see another great use case for Contextual – to be able to target specific language cohorts and offer Guides and tutorials to users in their native language.”

About Abound Parenting

Abound is a research-based app that makes it easy for parents, caregivers and beyond-school staff to start engaging conversations with children that build critical reading skills.

About Contextual

Contextual was designed to understand your consumers’ needs and assist them in their journey to product adoption and retention by giving them a tailored experience. As fierce devotees of Pirate Metrics (AARRR), the company’s mission is to:

  •  help your users understand your core product utility,

  •  deepen engagement by Progressive Onboarding.

Most Apps have around 30 seconds to attract the user’s attention after downloading and roughly 3 minutes to give some usefulness to the user. Working with app developers, the Contextual team learned the hard way that without a compelling onboarding experience, your retention rate plummets.

Companies tend to spend a lot of money on Advertising, Sales, and Marketing (the first “A” is acquisition), only to lose customers. Progressively improving a user’s education and comprehension of the product is a priority for the firms from whom we’ve learned. Testing and iteration, enthusiasm, and a focus on “the statistics” are all used to attain this goal. Retention, revenue, referrals, and business development are the prizes. We are here to assist you on your quest.

Contextual is a product delivered by the StreetHawk company and was built on top of the StreetHawk Engagement Automation Platform.