In modern times, companies in various industries place great emphasis on acquiring data (both from internal and external sources) to make important business decisions and keep building competitive advantage. One of the main “places” to look for this type of information is, of course, the Internet, overflowing with personal, company or market data. However, manually searching websites or social media would be extremely cumbersome – for this reason, this process has been automated and called web scraping. What exactly does this activity consist of and how can it be used to optimize your business?
Web scraping – table of contents:
- Web scraping in a nutshell
- Who uses web scraping?
- Applying web scraping in business
- How can you web scrap?
- Web scraping – summary
Web scraping in a nutshell
Web scraping is a legitimate method of automatically acquiring various types of data (text, images, links, videos, user comments, etc.) from any website. The information thus obtained is presented in a format that enables its analysis and conclusions (e.g., in an appropriate program or application) to take certain measures (in the area of improving the offer, marketing activities, sales activities, etc.). Extraction of various types of data is possible through indexing bots specially designed for this purpose, which allow you to dispense with manual searching, copying and pasting. Importantly, for some sites – due to the provision of an API for data extraction – there is no need to use special tools.
Who uses web scraping?
Typical users of web scraping are primarily price comparison sites, which collect available offers for the same products or services and present them in the form of a ranking on a single website, allowing consumers to choose the best option for them. This method is also commonly applied by research companies tasked with conducting market research – they track in this way, among other things, data shared on social media or in thematic forums. It’s also worth mentioning portals that collect job offers from various sources, or bots and indexing search engines (such as Google, Bing or Safari) responsible for analyzing content and ranking results.
Applying web scraping in business
Increasingly, web scraping is also popular with companies looking for ways to improve their condition or take care of business growth. What then is the process used for? Among other things, bots and indexing robots can perform a competitive analysis, especially in terms of monitoring their proposed prices (and their changes). In this way, a company can ensure that its proposed pricing is aligned with the market and attractive to its target audience.
However, this is not the only – though undoubtedly extremely important – use that the described process provides you with. Web scraping can also be used to:
- acquire leads that will go to your database and perhaps in the future you will be able to turn them into customers (as part of the next step you can make contact with them – by using the acquired data made publicly available on the Internet),
- monitor mentions of your brand online, which gives you important feedback on the elements that need to be strengthened and those that need to be improved,
- conduct market research – in the area of your industry, the aforementioned competition and consumer behavior, among others, to make business decisions based on reliable data,
- get inspired to create new products – bots can also collect data for you on the latest trends or opinions, which form the basis for designing an essential solution for the market.
How can you web scrap?
Web scraping – summary
No one should doubt that proper analysis of data – both internal and external – is the foundation of a successful business venture. When opening a business, it is essential to study the market and the target group to ensure you can realistically assume demand for the product or service you are designing. When running a business, one must constantly monitor the competition and adapt to the behavior of others in the industry. To maintain your position and not fall behind, you must regularly follow trends and create innovations.
In the implementation of all these activities, web scraping comes in handy – and precisely for this reason you should take advantage of its possibilities, no matter at what stage your business is at the moment.