Website scraping has been the most popular growth hacking technique for a long time now and has benefitted small and large scale businesses alike. While it started out as simple copy and pasting of information from various online resources to a spreadsheet or database, the strategy has since transformed into a more strategic and fruitful one.
What is Web Scraping?
In simple terms, web scraping is a method of extracting data from any website. Businesses make use of web scraping development services for a number of different reasons, including building up a sales pipeline to determining where their competitors are setting their prices. While it is no longer considered a new practice (at least, in terms of the internet), it has the potential to spark growth for any business. The data collected through web scraping apps could serve a number of purposes in future business growth and decision making.
Web scraper apps, despite being hugely popular, had a bumpy start. One of the wildly practiced facets of digital campaigns today, web scraping has been looked upon with a certain degree of apprehension. After all, regardless of whether a web scraper app development company was using bots to scan pages or just copying the important data snippets, it was believed to be still taking information that may or may not be OK to use (despite its public status).
Web scraper apps have come a long way since and actual practice of screen scraping has been deemed legal. Web scraper development companies have given way to countless growth opportunities for companies spanning industries. Website scraping is still one of the most ethical forms of growth hacking. It is a tried-and-proven strategy that dates back to Web 1.0, and has, over the years, become more effective than ever.
How Can Companies Incorporate Web Scraping?
One of the most common ways is setting up robot.txt.file. These essentially tell a web crawler what to look for on a page. This method does not require nearly as much coding as some might believe. However, if someone does not wish to learn coding or hire a professional, there are certain ways of getting the work done through various predisposed functions as well. As the practice of screen scraping has become much more ubiquitous, a lot of firms have been delivering some great products along the way to help out. Platforms such as Parsehub and Import.io provide an excellent choice, but companies can try out cheaper or free solutions before committing to a paid service. Web scraping is all about saving time and money, and therefore, simple solutions can mostly do the trick.
Why Scrape Data?
Extracted raw web data has the potential to be employed in multiple use cases including web indexing, data mining, price change monitoring and comparison in retail, market research, product review scraping, gathering sales leads, tracking online presence and reputation, and even social listening.
From a marketing perspective, whether one is performing an SEO audit or performing competitive research for a product launch, web scraping plays an important role. Web scraping proves to be a valuable asset even in creating data-journalism content marketing campaigns.
The latest web scraping apps are highly scalable and enterprise-grade web extractions platforms that allow marketers to gather data from the web in the format that suits them. It is the ultimate business intelligence tool that is powering businesses for efficient lead research & discovery. Web scraping app development companies are equipping their products with the ability to mine and analyse publicly available data from the web for lead research and discovery.
The data gathered allows marketers to carry out the following important functions:
- Optimize a product’s pricing and skyrocket its sales through competitor price monitoring strategies.
- Leverage social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for lead generation.
- Build news aggregators, event aggregators and centralized job portals using data from websites.
- Garner marketing intelligence by identifying key market developments from various data sources on the web.
- Extract comprehensive business intelligence on start-ups and big corporations.
- Compare the company’s marketing campaigns with that of the experts in the field.
- Build price comparison sites and affiliate sites using web data from popular E-commerce sites.
The Future of Website Scraping and What Possibilities it Holds for Marketers
The capabilities of using web scraping in data mining could be endless. Web scraping is currently transforming the way businesses are approaching marketing and is creating new avenues for innovation in digital marketing. In fact, the growth of collecting big data has spawned how AI is being used to assess the relationship between seemingly benign data points.
Every day a humongous amount of data is created on the web and marketers need to assess this data in order to streamline their marketing efforts with the current needs of the market. Most importantly of all, web scraping helps marketers with their inbound marketing strategies. Inbound marketing is seen as something of a holy grail at the moment, as it is seen as a far less intrusive and aggressive form of marketing.
While most businesses have unique needs when it comes to the information that has to be collected, the practice of website scraping offers companies an invaluable tool and a quick way to get a competitive advantage.