Web scraping is revolutionizing market research by providing companies with direct data sources that they normally wouldn’t have access to. This gives you greater insights into what your competitors are doing and what you could be doing better. Utilizing this data, you’ll be able to improve your marketing efforts for better conversions and more sales.
Web data scraping is when you use a scraping program to collect data online. In most cases, this means sending it to websites and collecting various types of data from it. Different types of scrapers do their job in different ways, but the result is that you’ll get data that shows you exactly what your competitors are up to. As you can imagine, this can give you a huge advantage in your market and allow you to adjust your business plan accordingly.
When engaging in data scraping online, you need to choose your targets wisely. This will allow you to get the data that is most valuable to you. For example, if you run a sporting goods business, you probably wouldn’t get any particularly valuable marketing insights from scraping a dog training website. Instead, you want to look at businesses in the same industry as you and see what they’re doing right so that you can improve your own business model and marketing efforts.
With this in mind, it is important to understand that you can sometimes get valuable technical data from unrelated sites in some cases. Going back to the previous example, maybe that dog training website has a really well-optimized sales funnel. You could have your scaper collect data on this and use it to tweak our own sales funnel for better performance.
The extent to which the data you scrape is valuable has a lot to do with your demographic. The better you understand your demographic, the better you’ll be able to leverage your scraped data and turn it into profit. Think of it like this, if your main social media outlet is Facebook, but a direct competitor of yours is on Instagram, your scraper could collect data that allows you to see exactly how they’re getting their followers and where their social media platforms fit into their sales funnel. This will allow you to make improvements to your own social media efforts so that they function better.
Avoiding Anti-Scraping Obsitcals
Remember, while data scraping is not illegal, it isn’t exactly looked upon favorably. This means that many websites and hosting providers have built-in countermeasures against scraping software. The most basic of these is the simple CAPTCHA fields that you’re probably well aware of. Other methods include IP banning, shadow blocking, and even programs that send your scraper fake data to throw it off the trail.
The good news is that scraper technology has evolved right alongside these countermeasures. No matter what types of anti-scraping programs a website is using, chances are there is a scraper that can overcome it. Just be aware that this might mean you’ll need to upgrade or tweak your scraper at times.
One of the main obstacles to extracting valuable data with scraping is a lack of efficiency. This oftentimes happens when you are using a synchronous scraper that only targets one website at a time. This means that it will spend a lot of time doing nothing while it waits on the site to respond to it. As you can imagine, this downtime will add up and impact the amount of data you can collect within a certain timeframe.
The best way to deal with this problem is to use an asynchronous scraper. This type of scraper will collect data from multiple sites at a time to help ensure that no time is wasted doing nothing. Of course, this type of scrapper can be a bit more resource intensive, but overall it’s a much better option if you want to scrap multiple websites at once.
Applying the Data You’ve Scraped
Once you have scraped and collected data from various online sources, you have to put it to work for you. What kind of insights you gain and how valuable they are to your business depends on how you can use this data to make improvements. This being the case, scraping could be exactly what you need to take your business to the next level.