Data is everywhere. However, getting and properly using that data takes conscious effort. Web scraping is a way to get data from the web with software. Getting quality data from the web puts your business at a better advantage than your competitor.
Web scraping has become an important business strategy because your audience is on the internet, and the websites they visit collect and store data. With every audience keystroke and click, data is created. Web scraping gives you access to that data, and this article will teach you how to harness that data to beat your competition.
What Is Web Scraping?
Web scraping involves using software like scraper API to extract data from the internet, subsequently storing them for analysis. This process can occur at smaller scales, like copying content from the web and pasting it into a spreadsheet. However, the major concept of web scraping occurs at a large scale, using automation software.
The purpose of collecting data at such a scale includes; informing business decisions, marketing, competitor analysis, etc.
Once a web scraping tool receives a target URL, it sends a GET request. The website server that receives this request then responds with website content. Subsequently, the web scraping software scans the HTML structure of the website and finally collects relevant data. The data it collects is then stored in a readable format.
Web scraping is a vast concept, and the type of data collected during web scraping depends on the collector’s needs. Furthermore, there are different programming languages used to develop the needed tools.
Owing to the varying development processes, programming languages, uses, etc., web scrapers can come in different forms. These are; scraper API, cloud-based software, browser extensions, web crawler and self-made software.
Each program type has its benefits, so you must consider which works best for your needs. Click here to learn more about scraper APIs.
What Can You Get With Web Scraping?
Web scraping tools have been developed to have deep crawling and extraction capabilities. For instance, the Google search engine uses a web crawling tool (literally a web scraper) to index billions of pages on the internet.
Hence, with a properly designed web scraper, there’s technically no data type you can’t collect for your business. Web scrapers can scour websites, search engine result pages, e-commerce websites, SEO platforms, service review platforms, product review platforms, etc.
Business departments mainly collect images, reviews, product information, videos, text, and customer sentiment. On the other hand, marketing departments collect data like bounce rate, clicks, keywords, etc. So, the type of data you collect depends on your business needs.
How Web Scrapers Use Web Scrapers to Beat Competitors
Whether you use a scraper API or build your web scraping tool in-house, it can help you beat your competitor to market share and dominance. Here are use cases where web scraping puts you at an advantage:
1. Product and Price Comparison
When developing products and services, it’s standard to know what your competitors are doing. Web scraping helps with this. Even if your competitor has the same product, scraping their web footprint can help you determine their strategy. Hence, you can improve your presentation, advertisement, and customer acquisition strategy.
Web scrapers can extract product details for comparison. For instance, if you run an e-commerce store, you can extract your competitor’s data for price analysis, copywriting, reviews, etc. You can also find out when your competitors are out of a particular stock, which gives you a window to restock and advertise.
You can deal with more than just your direct, local competitors. Web scrapers can help you understand indirect competitors in other locations.
2. Brand Management
Branding is critical to 21st-century business because there are several alternatives out there. Customer values and opinions about your business are things you must know. Hence, keeping tabs on exactly what customers think about your product is important.
Irrespective of your industry, your customers are online. You can track user reactions, engagements, complaints, etc. Doing this exposes you to what your business is doing right and what you can improve on.
Online reviews are also great metrics to monitor. Monitoring metrics helps understand how customers use your product. You can use these reviews as part of your marketing strategy, as modern customers prefer user-generated content.
Furthermore, analyzing the data you collect helps you narrow down insights, which can inform future brand management decision-making.
3. Market Research
To gain a high market share, it’s important to expand your business’ reach. You often need to take on new business strategies or develop new businesses to acquire new customers. Web scraping can help you get knowledge about the new frontier. Doing market research can also expose you to the information you were aware of on your current business, which could lead to increased revenue.
Web scraping is a term that sounds illegal. However, it isn’t. When done right, web scraping can grow your business and push you towards dominance in the market. If you’re not tech-savvy, you can hire someone with the needed expertise.