Data scraping is a valuable tool for gaining business insights on your market competition. We cover what it is – and how you can use it.
The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2025, there will be a daily data creation of 463 exabytes per day globally. This data carries important insight about the market. You can understand your competitors, customers, and market conditions better. It can help you make major decisions and develop effective strategies. But its magnitude makes it challenging to collect manually.
Data scraping, also known as web scraping, automates this process.
What is Data Scraping?
This is the automated technique of extracting data from targeted websites.
The data scraping tool finds the specific data needed, such as prices or contact information. It then extracts this data, changes it to a readable format, and stores it in a database or spreadsheet for further analysis. You can extract data from search engines, e-commerce websites, and much more.
The Legality of Data Scraping
Proxies are necessary for effective web scraping. And this often raises questions on the legality of this technique.
You are not allowed to scrape data that is not publicly available. For instance, you cannot extract data from sites that require login information.
The need for proxies is to bypass website security systems, which often block scrapers. A data scraping tool makes numerous web requests at one go and navigates the web pages fast, which slows down the site. And this is one of the reasons why websites prevent scrapers from accessing their site.
What are Proxies?
A proxy acts as an intermediary, preventing direct contact between your device and the web server. It makes requests and receives responses on behalf of your device. The proxy comes with an IP address attached to a specific location, which makes it possible to access geo-blocked sites.
You can use two main types of proxies when data scraping.
1. Residential proxies
2. Datacenter proxies
These are proxies issued by internet service providers to homeowners. They are legitimate proxies that provide the most reliability when data scraping. This is because they are hardly detectable.
Datacenter proxies are independent of an internet service provider and internet service. They are artificially created in data centres and tend to be similar in appearance. But this does not interfere with their effectiveness. They are fast and will guarantee a quick completion of your project.
Proxies can have rotating or static IPs. Rotating IPs is when the IP changes frequently. Static IPs remain the same as long as it’s needed. Rotating IPs are the best for web scraping.
With rotating IPs, you can still make numerous web requests at a go, but using a different IP with each request. It gives the impression of numerous organic users.
A significant advantage of using proxies is that in case the website’s security system detects your scraper, they can only block the proxy IP and not your real IP address.
Uses of Data Scraping
Data scraping makes it faster to generate more leads for your business. You can get the contacts of potential customers or influencers from social media and websites. You will need to identify the attributes necessary, such as age, occupation, location, among others. The scraper will then use these search criteria to extract the data needed from the specified sites.
Price scraping is a necessary part of every business. It makes it possible to develop effective pricing strategies that will attract customers. Extracting real-time pricing data from e-commerce sites ensures that your prices are up to date. This data also makes it easier to understand market forces. You can increase and decrease your product prices without losing customers.
Understanding the Customer
You cannot capture your target market unless you understand and meet their needs. Data scraping customers’ reviews on review websites and social media will provide information on their demands. You can create products that meet these needs, improve your weak points, and build customer loyalty.
Understanding your customers is not enough. You need to know your competitors as well and monitor their strategies to avoid getting sidelined. Be sure to analyse their customers’ feedback regarding their goods and services and use this information to improve your products. You can use their weaknesses to attract their market share.
With the easy entry of businesses into e-commerce, search engine optimisation ensures that your website is the first site visitors can see on their search engine result page. It draws organic traffic and increases your conversion rate. Data scraping enables you to find the right keywords from search engines and your SEO competitors’ websites.
Data Scraping Tools
If you’re a total beginner to data scraping, Octoparse is a user-friendly web scraping tool with no coding required. Just point, click, and extract the data you want from any website. The scraped data can then be downloaded in CSV, Excel, AP, or database-compatible formats. You can also choose to store it on Octoparse’s own cloud platform, allowing you to access it from any device – and share it across your team when needed.
Pricing: Free with limited functionality. Packages start at USD 75 per month, billed annually.
A highly accessible, user-friendly web scraping service, ProWebScraper requires minimal coding, giving beginners a point-and-click system to quickly extract data. Whether you’re looking to conduct market research on your e-commerce competitors, consolidate up-to-date financial news, or leverage social monitoring for your newsroom, ProWebScraper will let you collect and download that data in a JSON, CSV, Excel, or XML format. Plus, they even provide ready-to-use web scraping templates and a free custom scraper set-up service to help you tailor their service to your needs.
Pricing: Free for the first 1,000 pages scraped. Packages start at USD 40 for 5,000 pages per month.
A data scraping service that prides itself on being able to access geo-locked data, Oxylabs also provides an excellent data scraping service that produces structured data in an easy-to-read JSON format. Specially designed for search engines and e-commerce websites, Oxylabs offers comprehensive information for all things related to market research, SEO monitoring, and pricing intelligence. Plus, Oxylabs also has a 24/7 live support to help you through any obstacles along the way.
Pricing: 7-day free trial. Packages start at USD 99 per month.
Data scraping facilitates effective market research. It is a legal technique, as long as you remain ethical. You can use a data scraping tool to keep an eye on your competitors, know your customers, and develop better pricing and sales strategies. As always, remember to be considerate when it comes to data scraping – remember to use rotating proxies and scrape slowly to avoid slowing down the site.