Data analytics continues to rise in popularity within the business community. It is increasingly common to see data science used in marketing, sales, customer support and risk departments.

These departments use data science to unify data about their customers (or prospects). This allows them to segment and understand their customers’ behavior. For marketing, sales, and customer support (and perhaps certain elements of risk), the end-goal of customer analytics is to activate an audience so that they do something.

How do businesses activate their customers? If internet searches are an indicator, it remains a battle between email and social media (just click on to see). But 2River’s annual survey of customer engagement tools and technology shows a more detailed story when you look “under the hood”.

Starting in 2013, 2River has surveyed advertising, customer service and marketing professionals in the United States about the tools and technologies they used to engage their customers.

2River asks them what tools they use and how well the tools perform. 2River also asks them to identify emerging trends in their industry. The results of our 2016 survey are in.

Social media and email marketing tools are far and away the most used tools for engaging customers. 70% of our survey participants use each technology. That is comparable to feedback we heard when we started this survey in 2013.

There was very little change in the use of text messaging and marketing automation tools (around half of our audience use each tool…about the same as we heard in 2013).

The least popular tool for engaging customers continues to be online coupons. Only 26% of survey participants in 2016 told us they use online coupons. This is a slide that continued over the past couple of years. In 2013 only 34% of our participants used online coupons.

Social media monitoring technologies was an area of significant drop off in this year’s survey. 64% of our audience in 2016 use technology to monitor social media in order to engage with their customers. This is down from 72% of our participants when we started in 2013. This trend may reflect a decreasing demand for tools to monitor social media as AI and analytics tools for social media marketing and ad placement have improved.

The full research report from the 2016 Customer Engagement Tools survey is available at