The internet is home to many different things, amongst which is data. Every minute more and more data is generated across the globe and added to the already large repository on the World Wide Web. This data holds tremendous benefits for all businesses – old and new alike.
Data can help you expand your business beyond the borders of your physical location or help you kick start a brand if you are only just starting. More precisely, website data scraping – the process of gathering this large expanse of data – is what holds the many keys to either starting or growing a business.
Today, we will find out what web scraping is and the many different ways it can benefit a new and emerging business.
What is Web Scraping?
In the simplest terms, web scraping can be defined as the process of harvesting a large amount of relevant user data from multiple sources in real time. The process is initiated with computers and tools such as proxies and entails crawling several data sources before collecting their content in a raw unstructured HTML format. Then the data is parsed and transformed to a structured form such as JSON, CSV, and Excel Spreadsheet that is both easy to read and store.
Initially, people would take their time to crawl each web page, scrape its content, and move to the next page until they have covered an entire website or collected as much data as they need. Sadly, this manual exercise was back-breaking- tedious and very slow.
Fortunately, this has been replaced by a much faster and more accurate web scraping which works automatically to scrape multiple websites at once and does this repeatedly. Not only is this more effective, but it produces data that is both valid and very accurate.
How Can Web Scraping Be Beneficial For A Business?
Let us consider, below, some of the best benefits that web scraping can offer any business:
It Provides Automation
Gathering data was once a dreaded exercise that many would rather shy away from simply. After all, it took too much effort, time and energy and results in the realization that it no longer fits the purpose because it was collected late.
Web scraping has now introduced automation into the mix to do away with all that was wrong with data collection.
It Is Cost-Effective
The overall cost of collecting data with proxies is also lower than traditional data collection processes. Using these tools, businesses can cut the cost of employing a team to handle the data collection. This is because the tools are easy to operate and are serviced and maintained by a third-party solution provider.
It Guarantees Speed
Tools used for web scraping are also very fast, so that an exercise that would take days or weeks, once upon a time, now takes minutes or hours.
For Better Accuracy
The one thing that hurts a business more than no data at all is wrong data. Collecting inaccurate data can make wrong business decisions that can affect the viability of the company or its products.
Web scraping has made things better by ensuring that companies collect the exact data they need with very minimal errors.
Main Use Cases of Web Scraping
Web scraping can find practical application in virtually every field, and industry and below are some of the most common use cases:
Brand Monitoring and Protection
Brands generally use web scraping to monitor their image and reputation online. They do this by regularly scanning for mentions, reviews and discussions that concern them. Then the necessary data is collected to initiate an appropriate response. When it is done properly, this can help protect an online brand image and win them the loyalty of old and new customers.
Market Research And Competition Analysis
Web scraping is often used to gather data about the market and competition. This data can then be further analysed to make insightful business moves. For instance, market data, when analysed, can inform a brand when it is the right time to manufacture a certain product or service or penetrate a different market. While data on the competition is often harvested to help a brand see what their competitors are doing and adjust to beat them.
Leads are usually what businesses turn into paying customers, and naturally, the more leads a brand has, the more customers they will have at any given point.
And web scraping can be used to gather these leads from different sources such as e-commerce websites and search engines.
Those in the Real Estate industry often need to scrape images from websites to compare them and make more informed decisions. Buyers can easily use this to compare listings and better understand what they intend to purchase.
Web scraping is, therefore, increasingly used to scrape images of websites of sellers and Real Estate companies. If you think this is exactly what you need to enhance your business, find more info here.
Multiple fields and industries are already benefiting from web scraping, and if you own and run an online business, then chances are you will need it to kick start your company and grow competitively.
The fact that it allows you to gather data with little or no stress when using web scraping with proper proxy servers is enough advantage already.