Are you a marketer, CEO, entrepreneur, asset manager, CFO, hedge fund manager, CTO, developer, data scientist, researcher, recruiter, real estate agent or broker looking to learn how web scraping can help grow your company? Data scraping can help you take your business success to the next level. We’ve taken an in-depth look at the advantages of web scraping through an exhaustive list of data use cases and applications.
Web scraping is becoming increasingly popular amongst businesses looking to gain insights from website data by using an automated approach for extracting information from the web. Through data scraping, you can save time and money and get more accurate results compared to traditional methods.
In this article, you will learn what web scraping is and discover its wide range of applications, such as finding leads, tracking competitors’ prices and analysing customer sentiment online.
So if you want to get the best out of your online presence, look no further and keep reading!
Web Scraping and Its Capabilities
Web scraping, also known as web data extraction, web harvesting, web data mining or automated web indexing, is a powerful tool for gathering and storing plenty of relevant data. It offers immense opportunities for businesses to increase their productivity and reduce operating costs.
Through web scraping techniques, companies can obtain helpful information from numerous web pages, including customer reviews, product details from competitor websites, the latest news related to market trends, etc. It provides visibility into potential customer segments, which you can use for better targeting and improved marketing strategies.
In addition, web scraping allows your company to monitor your competitor’s pricing and activities in an automated way. Let’s see it in detail.
Types of Data You Can Extract With Web Scraping Tools
Web scraping is an invaluable tool to any business because of the wide variety of web scraping data types you can leverage for easy access to essential business information. There are many different kinds of web-based data that web scraping tools can extract with ease.
- Structured data: contact information, prices, stock numbers, and customer reviews
- Unstructured web content: web page titles and page descriptions
- Web images and videos
- Web documents: PDFs, Word docs, etc.
Web Scraping Vs. Traditional Data Gathering
Web scraping (aka ‘web mining‘, ‘data scraping‘ or ‘web crawling‘) has become a popular alternative to traditional data collection techniques. It allows businesses to easily and quickly extract structured web data without programming or manual web browsing.
In comparison with other methods of data gathering, such as surveys and web page visits, web scraping offers much more flexibility in monitoring website changes.
Additionally, web scraping is often faster and more cost effective than traditional methods. By writing a few lines of code, you can now scrape websites traditionally hard or impossible to access through typical means.
Web Scraping Advantages for Your Business
Web scraping can help organizations access large volumes of web-based data quickly and easily and extract valuable insights, trends, and patterns. You can use this data to track competitors’ pricing and features, improve decision-making processes, identify potential customers, spot market opportunities, etc.
As web scraping is automated and requires minimal effort on the part of employees, businesses can reduce the time, effort, and costs associated with manual web data collection. Furthermore, web scraping technologies can automate web activities such as web page navigation, form submission, and search engine optimization tasks.
This way, your business can focus on core operations instead of mundane and repetitive web-based tasks. All these benefits make web scraping a valuable tool for any business that wants to succeed in an ever-changing digital landscape.
1. Fast Data Collection
How long would it take to browse 1,000 pages, read all the content, and copy-paste relevant data into a well-formatted Excel spreadsheet or modern design table?
Web scraping is a fast and efficient technology that allows you to extract data on any topic. This is an automated process to considerably speeds up the manual work of collecting and organising data, piece by piece. Web scraping lets your business stay up to date with relevant information in a fraction of the time.
2. Tedious Tasks Automation: Save Time and Money
Automation through web scraping allows you to eliminate (or reduce) manual labour associated with data collection and analysis. Automated data extraction helps you monitor your competition’s strategies without the tedious process of doing it manually.
Automated tools can, in fact, more quickly identify patterns that may be difficult for humans to observe. This makes this task more accurate and a valuable strategic resource.
3. competitors’ pricing and offers monitoring
Would you like to be successful in a highly competitive business landscape? You must understand what your rivals have been offering and dynamically adjust your products, services, and prices accordingly.
This kind of competitive monitoring compares prices and finds the best ones to effectively analyse the market and craft dynamic pricing strategies.
Additionally, product matching can help you spot which products or services customers prefer from your competitors so that you can provide the same or similar offers.
With web scraping technology, all these tasks are automated, executed regularly, and processed into actionable insights efficiently.
Top Web Scraping Examples and Industries
Web Scraping Solutions in a Nutshell
Web scraping has become an invaluable tool across many sectors, in which e-commerce is perhaps the most obvious example. In this field, by regularly analysing the prices of comparable products listed online, your e-commerce business can adjust your offering to remain competitive.
Other industries that benefit from web scraping are finance, marketing, real estate and recruiting. With access to real-time data feeds and rapidly changing exchange rates, web scraping gives financial professionals insight into current trends they can use to inform decisions.
Similarly, web scraping data analytics can help marketers understand consumer behaviour to create more effective marketing campaigns.
Real estate companies, instead, can vet properties faster than ever as comprehensive information about a given property is now at their fingertips.
Recruiting teams, similarly, can quickly search large volumes of candidate profiles and find the best-suited match for a job opening.
Additionally, as cybercrime becomes an increasingly serious issue for businesses around the globe, security departments and services rely on web scraping techniques for insight into recent malicious computer activity, which any person or organization should be wary of.
Let’s dig into these and other industries.
E-commerce and Online Shopping Stores
With the help of web scraping, you can boost your e-commerce store productivity, reduce costs, find new market opportunities, and deliver an enhanced online shopping experience. Here’s why.
By employing this powerful tool, e-tailers and online retailers can gain driver insights into their online sales performance and customer behaviour, allowing them to adjust their strategies to maximise profits.
With web scraping, your e-commerce company can also access data from competitive stores, which you can use to inform your marketing and pricing decisions.
Furthermore, web scraping in the e-commerce industry can capture real-time customer feedback and continually monitor your web content for errors to optimise conversion rates.
Sellers and Lead Generation Companies
If you are a seller or work for a lead generation company, web scraping is a powerful tool to find business leads quickly and easily.
Thanks to efficient algorithms, you can extract high-quality prospect contact details from multiple sources such as websites, forums, social media, and directories.
Web scraping provides your lead generation company (or team) with many high-value business prospects for your clients (and for yourself) to deliver the best possible lead list for email outreach.
With automated web scraping, sales managers and representatives or lead generation company owners like you can offer organizations an effective lead hunter platform where clients, the users, can easily find business leads interested in their services and reach out with their sales offers more efficiently.
For example, you can ask a data company or web scraping expert and software development company to build a lead generation tool tailored to your needs or use an existing one in white-label mode.
Real Estate Agents and Brokers
Real estate agents and brokers can exploit web scraping for reasons such as staying informed about market trends and researching properties to influence real estate arbitrage. Data scraping offers real estate agencies an immense wealth of real-time data that can provide important insight into areas like property value and competitive market analytics.
Furthermore, web scraping allows real estate agents and brokers alike to automate the data-gathering process, which saves them precious time otherwise spent manually sifting through pages of website resources.
Social Media Research and Sentiment Analysis Companies
Companies that offer sentiment analysis and social media monitoring services can use web scraping technology to sample vast amounts of online data points (including customer reviews and comments on social media websites). This information is then analysed to understand how customers feel toward your brand (positive or negative emotions while engaging with something or someone).
This sentiment helps you measure your brand perception and change your strategies accordingly. So, sentiment analysis tools make trends research and analysis on social channels faster and easier while you build connections with your customers.
Sports arbitrage, or “arbing“, is an exciting web scraping activity that businesses and bettors can leverage to make a guaranteed profit. Using web scraping, arbers search for sure bets, which are odds from different bookmakers and sportsbooks that offer opposing outcomes with no risk.
By seeking out these sure bets and comparing the various odds offered by the different sources, web scrapers generate accurate information quickly, just in time to take advantage of the arbitrage opportunities available in sports betting.
So, do you like alternative investments and safe gambling? You can use web scraping and sports arbitrage tools for continuous automated price change monitoring. This makes it possible to know how to optimise your investments.
You may be also interested in knowing How Sports Arbitrage Betting Tools Help You Make Profit with Sportsbooks.
Machine Learning DatasetS & AI Model Training
Creating a machine learning (ML) dataset is essential in training an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model. It requires data to be collected, labelled and organised into ML-ready sets. Web scraping gives businesses timely access to relevant online data, enabling them to build machine-learning datasets quickly and accurately.
By leveraging web scraping services, companies can create comprehensive ML datasets or help refine existing datasets depending on the requirements of the machine learning project they are working on. This ensures that all essential components for constructing machine learning models are in place before beginning any machine learning endeavours, resulting in the accuracy of model predictions.
Investors, Hedge Funds, Asset Management Companies
Web scraping supports hedge funds, investors, and asset managers in real-time trading by avoiding manual work in searching for information from multiple sources (and most times, we are talking about a massive quantity of data). Through web scraping, growth-oriented financial companies can easily collect accurate market intelligence data, which you need to get a key advantage in volatile markets.
Moreover, web scraping also helps you with automated investment management and asset management processes by running complex algorithms on up-to-date financial information available online.
Market Research Companies
Market research companies use web scraping to collect market data and intelligence quickly, efficiently, accurately, and affordably from multiple sources (market trends, market competitiveness, product offerings, consumer behaviour insights, and market penetration opportunities).
As a market researcher, web scraping is a powerful tool at your disposal to understand customers’ behaviour and preferences. The combination of web scraping tools and savvy researchers provides you with advanced market analysis to improve products/services or gain new targets and market segments.
Press Reviews and Media Monitoring
Press review agencies and media monitoring firms can utilise web scraping services to quickly and accurately capture vast amounts of press material from different sources while saving money. Data scraping drastically reduces the manual labour needed to gather press coverage. It provides efficient search capabilities to create reports by theme, location, publication type or frequency.
The technology also allows quick access to press reviews, helping agencies and media monitoring firms save time while searching for quality content sources.
Travel and hospitality
Airlines, airports, restaurants, hotels, trains, cruise lines and other tourism-focused services can all benefit from web scraping in several ways.
- Airlines and airports can identify events that may affect departure or landing times by keeping track of weather trends.
- Restaurants can keep up with competitors’ rates and menus.
- Hotels and other accommodation providers can target potential customers more effectively with customised ad campaigns based on gathered data regarding past visits and bookings.
- Train services can monitor online customer reviews to improve existing services or create new amenities.
- Finally, cruise lines and tourist attractions can monitor activities worldwide to develop tailored strategies for engaging prospective customers with timely offers that suit their individual needs.
Web scraping helps the staffing industry by allowing recruiters to extract large amounts of data from job portals and other job search sites (a task that would previously take weeks instead of minutes). Through extensive web crawling and parsing, human resource professionals can effectively leverage up-to-date digital resources to find potential job candidates promptly.
Recruiters don’t need manual work to scour search engine results or parse job postings. They have quick access to job candidates’ data in a structured format.
So, thanks to web scraping and tools that leverage automated data extraction, recruitment firms can identify qualified professionals with the specific skillsets they require. They can also get efficient, actionable data and insights regarding potential job candidates and average salaries for a given position.
Cybersecurity Consulting and Services
Cybersecurity professionals can use web scraping to gather large amounts of data from the web and turn it into a structured dataset. They can assess vulnerabilities in a network or find suspicious activities from digital footprints.
With web scraping techniques, cybersecurity consultants can identify potential threats that might have serious consequences, such as data breaches, malware attacks, and brand protection issues. Cybersecurity consultants can apply web scraping capabilities to proactively fortify systems, detect malicious activities and develop strategies for preventing crucial information leaks before they occur.
Web scraping is an essential tool that is constantly improving the capabilities of cybersecurity consulting and services such as cybersecurity organizations, computer emergency response teams (CERTs), penetration testing organizations, incident response teams (IRT), managed security service providers (MSSPs) and beyond.
Government and Public Sector
The government and public sector can increase the efficiency and accuracy of data in their operations, especially when they must do them quickly. Here are some examples.
- Real-time statistical market data extraction
- Automated web activity monitoring
- Streamlining governmental communications
- Budget analysis
- E-services research
- Legislative tracking and communication
- City census information compilation
- Existing data set update.
Duplicate Content Checker Tools
One particular and valuable use of web scraping is duplicate content check. This type of web scraping utilises advanced data scraping methods to compare web content against each other. The tool will detect if any web material is too similar or an exact copy of another source, which could be a copyright infringement under certain circumstances.
Thus, web scraping used for this purpose can help protect companies, authors, and content creators from possible fines or lawsuits by avoiding plagiarism or other copyright issues.
IoT data scraping helps you quickly collect, monitor, and analyse big data. You can then use this data to enhance the user experience, automate processes, make real-time decisions, and more.
A web scraping designed for IoT allows your business to access the most accurate and relevant information from many sources, including websites and connected devices, such as smartphones, wearables, telemetry-enabled objects, consumer home devices, industrial monitors, sensors, and drones.
IoT scraping use cases vary between business sectors. It can include anything from optimising transport routes for logistics companies to managing connected lighting systems for hotels or other activities in a so-called smart city.
How to choose the best web scraping service
Choosing the best web scraping service for your business needs can be daunting. So, here are some tips for finding a data scraping tool that best meets your business needs.
As you evaluate potential solutions, consider the web scraping features that best fit your current use cases and plans for growth. So, ask yourself:
- Can the web scraping service accommodate various data sources?
- Does it extract data from all sites without fail?
- Does the tool have multiple output options and support?
- Can the company handle big data (scraping at a large scale)?
- Does the web scraping tool offer a user-friendly interface and efficient ways of organising, analysing, and utilising data collected?
- Does the web scraping company offer different pricing plans to compare that best suit your budget?
- What are the customer ratings and the technical support team capabilities?
In addition, make sure the web scraping service and tool follow the best practices, such as
- extracting the correct data
- updating the script as the page layout changes
- avoid overwhelming a website server
- use a proxy (and multiple IPs)
- handling hidden security fields in forms (for ex., CAPTCHA)
- dealing with log-in and session cookies
- avoiding anti-scraping techniques
- respecting a website robots.txt file
- ‘spoofing’ (imitating) the user-agent and other HTTP headers
- handling missing HTML tags and network errors
- scraping Google cache for not time-sensitive data, such as historical data.
Answer these questions and follow the guidelines to fully take advantage of all web scraping features and comply with applicable laws.
Web scraping is a powerful tool to gather data faster, automate tedious tasks, and stay ahead of your competition. It is much more efficient than traditional data collection methods and offers many data applications.
Different industries have different requirements for web scraping. Hence you must determine what type of data you need before choosing the best tool.
Many companies are taking advantage of this technology, and now more than ever, it’s time you jump on board and use the power of web scraping to its fullest potential.
Ready to Use Web SCraping the Right Way?
Request a free consultation with our experts to find the right data solution!
Featured image by upklyak and DilokaStudio on Freepik
[…] large data sets and proper resources. The solution is using big-data scalable and accessible web scraping services and infrastructures designed and arranged to handle the whole process also in real-time without […]