Nowadays, data makes all the difference in the business world. After all, it serves as the basis for companies when making suitable business strategies and developing effective marketing plans.
Still, whether you are looking to start a new business or expand an existing one, you need to analyze huge chunks of data. That is why you should consider web scraping.
What is web scraping?
Also referred to as data scraping, web scraping is the process of importing information from an online website into a local file on your device. These days, web scraping has become popular since it offers an easy and efficient way to get data on your computer from various online sources.
What is it used for?
Overall, data scraping is mainly used for the following:
1. Price Intelligence
The most popular use for web scraping is price intelligence which involves collecting pricing information from competing sites. The collected data can then help businesses make better pricing decisions.
2. Market Research
If you are running a business, you probably recognize the need for market research. After all, marketing should only be driven by accurate information that is highly insightful. So, by engaging in web scraping, you can get market pricing, market trend analysis, and research development.
Where is web scraping used?
Of course, aside from these, web scraping also has numerous other applications. Here are some practical examples of where web scraping is used:
1. In the retail industry
There are various ways through which data from web scraping can be used in the retail industry. For example, it can be used in competitor price monitoring since manually tracking prices can be tedious and time-consuming.
2. In financial research
The applications of web scraping can also extend to the financial field. In this case, data from web scraping is used in market data aggregation to yield meaningful intelligence of equity research. Moreover, it’s also used for extracting financial statements to evaluate the health of an enterprise and offer advice.
3. In Marketing and sales
Aside from this, data obtained from web scraping can also help derive data-driven marketing, which can be more successful. In addition, it also helps in content marketing by collecting data from various sites such as TechCrunch and Twitter.
Overall, web scraping is used in the marketing and sales industry for lead generation, competitive analysis, and SEO monitoring.
4. In Data Science
Data science also uses web scraping to yield accurate time analytics to offer timely insights as they are needed.
In fact, the real-time score is also essential for financial institutions as they can quickly make decisions on credit matters. It also helps with predictive analysis and natural language processing.
5. In risk management
Lastly, you can’t deny that there is always a waiting risk in every business, especially when dealing with new clients or employees.
Because of this, business people use web scraping to run background checks on new members through different data sources like legal databases, sanction lists, and corporate registers rather than ignoring the threat.
Types of data that can be collected through scraping
A common rule for most web scraping tools is that any information that can be copy-pasted from a website can be scraped. However, you can also scrape any data within the website’s HTML source, even if it is not visible.
In fact, you can scrape the following types of data from websites:
- Images (through the Image URL)
- HTML codes (both inner and outer)
- Any other information on the site which is hidden
Sadly, most people assume that only links and texts can be scraped. This is why it’s best to note that you can also scrape images from a website if you need them. Read this blog post to learn how to scrape images from a website using Python.
How it can be helpful
Overall, there are many ways web scraping can be helpful. For example, it helps in the following areas:
1. Conducting research
A simple use for web scraping is finding data and extracting it into one document. Therefore, if you have identified a web page that contains an abundance of data you imagine will be helpful for you, an easy way to get all that information is by web scraping.
Furthermore, it is an easy process that you can make a routine if you often conduct research.
2. Gathering disparate data
Another primary advantage of web scraping is it offers you a chance to gather different data in one place. Crawling the internet, taking unstructured data from other sources, and collecting it in one place are advantages you cannot overlook.
Aside from this, suppose you have various websites monitored by different people. In that case, you can easily use web scraping to combine the sites into one feed.
3. Outputting an XML feed
Lastly, you can find web scraping particularly helpful if you need to feed product information from your site to another like Google Shopping. Outputting XML feed is essential, especially if you are in the e-commerce sector.
By using web scraping, you can automate the laborious process you previously used to update your product details, especially if you restock frequently.
With the internet continuously growing, businesses are becoming more and more dependent on data. As a result, data now acts as the basis on which crucial decisions about a business are made. In this case, web scraping offers access to this data anonymously, regardless of your location.
Overall, it is becoming clear that entrepreneurs who are making use of web scraping stand out from their competitors. Therefore, it can be a good idea for your company to use web scraping to your advantage and boost your business.