How To Find Alternative Data Sources for Your Business

Saheed Opeyemi
January 15, 2021

alternative data sources

Today, alternative data has become a top player in the financial world. That is simply because it has been proven convenient and useful in small businesses and large organizations worldwide. Just imagine you could get an ocean of data that could lead you to financial success. Well, you can! Alternative data provides you all the data you need, and you sure get the drift now.

Before the rise of alternative data, there were traditional data that includes regular business data sources such as financial statements, sales figures, etc. But the financial world is ever-growing at a fast pace, and traditional data is just no longer sufficient. This ignited several businesses to discover non-traditional sources that blossomed into the alternative data of today. This type of data swiftly took the reins by providing timely and comprehensive insights that help companies make the finest decisions in securing sustainable successes.

This article will take an exciting dive into the world of alternative data as we learn about useful alternative data sources and the benefits of using alternative data sources. If you have prior knowledge about alternative data, you can easily use the table of contents to navigate the page and learn about these unusual data sources.

Table of Contents


An Overview of Alternative Data

Alternative data

Where there is data smoke, there is business fire.” – Thomas Redman.         

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of using data that is not traditional data, let’s answer one crucial question; what is alternative data?

Alternative data is simply information that is acquired from non-traditional information sources. Sounds easy peasy, right? Alternative data is a straightforward concept that provides valuable and flexible insights greater than what traditional data offers. Otherwise known as “third party free data,” this type of data can also be described as data used in this financial world to assess a business or investment outside the scope of traditional data sources. Alternative data is so essential because it provides more accurate and more in-depth insights into businesses’ performance, including metrics such as financial condition, marketing results, and sales.

Although it is essential for businesses or marketers to use their own (internal) data such as sales records and distribution information, combining additional data from external data sources will significantly enhance business growth and success. With alternative data, understanding the external factors influencing businesses is easy. Then, businesses can use the information to stimulate better decisions that bring about more profit and success. The most incredible part about alternative data is that it provides you a decisive competitive advantage that will sweep your competitors off their feet.  

3 Effective Alternative Data Sources for Businesses/Marketing

Alternative data sources

Alternative data sources are the non-traditional sources where you can obtain targeted data for business or marketing purposes. Alternative sources for marketing data differ across industries. Due to the increase of data over the years from websites, mobile devices, and satellites, there are big datasets that could exponentially assist businesses in making informed decisions. Alternative data can be obtained from these sources through web scraping. 

Below are three of the most effective alternative data sources for you to explore and exploit:

  1. Individuals: Individuals across the world generate data daily through several outlets. Although the amount of data produced averagely daily can be too much data and may seem to provide little insight. Individual data is capable of revealing critical information about a business that could help make better decisions. Individual alternative data sources include Social/Sentiment (social media pages, management communications, and news), Web traffic, and Survey (for consumer behavior and product preference data). This data reflects your potential customer database and is especially useful for small or local businesses.
  2. Business processes: Alternative data are sourced from different business processes, including competitor’s business or businesses target consumers patronize. Alternative data from business processes provide relevant data that are vital for informed financial decisions. Alternative data from business processes are also known as “exhaust data.” They include Credit/Debit card transactions, Email/Consumer receipts (via opt-in emails or reward apps), Web data, and Public data. Business processes provide an extensive and accurate database of consumer information.
  3. Sensors: Sensors are everywhere around us and have proven to be a great source of alternative data. Sensors are always receiving and transmitting signals or data from one place or device to another. Alternative data from sensors include geo-location, satellite, and weather. This data provides accurate insights such as the frequency of product purchase and store visit. It is valuable in analyzing both your business and competitors’ business progresses.

How To Collect Alternative Data

What is alternative data

The basic premise of alternative data involves collecting data by yourself from sources that are not designated data libraries. This means you can’t just stroll into these sources, click a button, and download the data you want/ need. You need to develop a specialized method to collect data from these sources, and web scraping is easily the best method you could choose.

Web scraping uses bots known as “crawlers” or “spiders” to parse through the source code of a given webpage and extract data according to some preset parameters. The crawler moves through the website and tags the data according to your data parameters, and then the extractor collects the tagged data and extracts them into a spreadsheet.

With web scraping, you can easily access data from data sources even when the sources are not designated data libraries, such as data generated by individuals on mobiles. Using web scraping bots also helps you to collect the data in an already-organized format, eliminating the need to spend time arranging the data and allowing you to go straight to employing the data.

Major Benefits of Alternative Data

Alternative sources for marketing data

  1. Better decision making: Helps in making better and informed decisions with complete and accurate data of consumer profiles. By collecting data directly from individuals’ profiles, you can detect variations in individual preferences and use it to build a complete picture of consumer needs in your industry.
  2. Prediction: Alternative data can reveal possible future events and premature signs of financial problems. You can also use it to identify past business trends that are likely to reoccur in the future.
  3. Concrete database: Gives a complete portrait of consumers’ needs, behaviors, and preferences to align plans with their interests.
  4. Accessibility: Unlike traditional data, alternative data can be obtained at any time, even on a daily basis. This data is continually being generated, so using it in your business processes ensures that you are always using data that is freshly generated from its original source. This helps you avoid situations like data decay (data decay occurs when the datasets you collect are no longer relevant to current events in the industry).
  5. Actionable intelligence: Alternative data is current data. Even better, it is actionable data. Using alternative data sources provides you with a large amount of fresh data that could be used immediately to solve problems and predict financial stability. 

Using Scraping Robot To Find Alternative Sources for Marketing Data

Alternative sources for marketing data

If you are looking for a top-tier web scraping service to help you obtain data from alternative data sources, then you are in the right place. At Scraping Robot, all we want to do is make it as easy for you to collect the data you need when you need it. With our scraping service, you can easily scrape data directly from individuals, business processes, or sensors. To start scraping, just send us a message telling us what you want, and we’ll get on it right away. Our developers are always on standby to create your custom scraping solution.

Our web scraping service offers an API which enables you to automate your web scraping process and collect data in real-time. We also use multiple proxies, allowing you to send an unlimited number of scraping requests simultaneously.


Alternative sources for marketing data

Alternative data sources are helping to push limits in the financial/business world. There are lots of critical data that can be gotten from unusual data sources that will greatly impact your business or marketing procedures. The key to a successful implementation of alternative data is having the right tools to access the right data sources. Scraping Robot is the right tool. No matter your business’s status, we can always help you find alternative data sources with valuable untapped data.

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