Web Scraping: The Internet's Most Misunderstood Essential
Internet technology has been one of the greatest innovations of the last century. In the span of almost 30 years, the internet has changed how we learn, how we bank, how we shop, and most importantly, how we communicate with one another. The internet has brought people around the world closer together, making it easier to work and communicate with each other across countries, continents and time zones.
However, with the convenience of living and working in an online reality, there are some caveats. For one, once placed online, information is there forever, and every time you visit a website, regardless of the purpose, mounds of information is being collected regarding your habits. However, through data extraction, or web scraping, businesses can gather some of this information to better serve the needs of the community and empower consumers.
Keep reading to learn more about how web scraping can be used and how this process can be beneficial to your business.
Creating Brand Identity
Many of the coolest products have been the culmination of web scraping tools. These tools make it possible for businesses to collect basic information such as phone numbers and email addresses to more complicated data like the websites we visit and the products we purchase. After gathering all of this information, businesses can develop a brand identity that closely aligns with the values of the specific demographic they wish to target.
Social media is a very prominent communication tool for everyone worldwide. Both businesses and individuals have at least have one account with any one of the more popular social media sites. Social media marketing has also made it possible for businesses to track the online behaviour of consumers, whether it is related to reviews or surfing particular sites linked to the page. Through social media marketing, web scraping can essentially be used to assess the reception of your brand.
For the consumer, web scraping helps them stay informed as to what products are available. Today’s consumers have a greater advantage than in the past simply because social media provides information related to a brand’s popularity, including reviews. In essence, web scraping has provided consumers with the tools to take greater ownership of their own purchases.
Testing Out New Markets
Web scraping has reinvented the way in which businesses go about researching and testing new markets. For businesses looking to venture into new industries, web scraping provides the tools needed to perform in-depth industry research. Web scraping helps businesses with gathering information such as industry trends, financial data, new developments and risks. These tools can prepare businesses for any obstacles and to take advantage of opportunities available within the market.
Other more practical uses of web scraping include devising ways to set prices. The tool helps businesses with analysing the sales and prices of different products. These tools can compare product features with pricing across a range of brands making it a more efficient way to collect data that can be used for setting prices for their own products.
Web scraping, while used primarily by businesses, does have a direct positive effect on the consumer. One way that web scraping benefits the consumer is by giving consumers greater purchasing power. With tools available to give consumers accurate, up-to-date information on pricing and the overall value of products, they can make purchases while having a better idea of the products available, their prices, and alternatives to these products.
More Than Data Mining
Data extraction conjures up images of dubious-looking professionals gathering information simply to track our every move online. However, this description is a very inaccurate one, especially in a day and age where information is essential to remaining competitive. Web scraping, ultimately, gives both consumers and businesses information to make proactive choices in the marketplace, ultimately offering a better experience for all concerned.