Our world increasingly revolves around data. Film studios use viewer data to decide what to make next, companies use sentiment analysis to fix problems with their products, and artists use data to make sense of larger questions facing us so they can relay that information back to us in creative ways. The process of extracting data is a prerequisite for analyzing data and growing your business.
It is almost impossible to run a successful business today, large or small, without data extraction. You may be wondering, “What is data extraction?” Data extraction is the process of receiving data in one format and turning it into a more useful format in order to further process the data. It is crucial to note that extraction does not include organizing or processing data, simply extracting it from a source. Once data is extracted, it can then be analyzed in a specific context in order to help generate insights applicable to organizational growth, fixing internal issues, or coming up with exciting advertising ideas.
Before you get to this step, you must understand all the basics of data extraction and ask the right questions. Web scraping, the automatic extraction of data from web pages, is an essential tool for anyone wanting to extract data at a large or small scale.
To learn more about web scraping and data extraction, use the table of contents below to skip ahead.
Table of Contents
What is Data Extraction?
Data extraction is the retrieval of data, usually unstructured or poorly structured, from data sources in order to be further processed or analyzed. Data extraction does not include analysis which is an entirely separate process. Data can be extracted from internal data sources or publicly available databases and web pages. Since extracting data is one of the most important steps in conducting data analysis, you must learn these skills before learning to analyze data.
How to Extract Data
There are multiple ways to extract data using different data extraction tools. One of the best ways, especially for beginners, is to extract data through web scraping. web scraping is the automatic process of extracting data from web pages, which are large sources of public data. For example, web scrapers can extract data regarding pricing, product, details, keywords, social media, and demographics.
Reasons for Extracting Data
While there are many reasons to extract data, the most common are for purposes of organizational analysis and growth. Without examining data relevant to your organization, marketplace, or target audience, it can be hard to know how to move forward. Below are examples of things you can learn from analyzing extracted data.
Gauge customer sentiment
A key aspect of success in today’s market is making the customer happy. More than ever, consumers have endless online options and the ability to leave negative reviews if they aren’t pleased. Extracting and then analysing data from online review sites and social media sites can help you understand how consumers feel about your organization.
Using a scraper to extract social media data provides you with data regarding who someone is following, who follows them, and what kind of content they enjoy. This can help you understand your target audience and anticipate any additional needs or desires they may have for new products related to your own. You can use this information to launch a new product that they will likely buy without playing guessing games.
When you scrape review sites, you get valuable information about what parts of your operation (design, marketing, shipment, etc) people admire or struggle with the most. You can learn from the positives while fixing operational issues, reducing your amount of complaints in the future, and proving to consumers you listen to their feedback and recognize their needs.
Keep up with the competition
As important as collecting internal data is, extracting competitor data using web scrapers helps supplement and strengthen the analysis of your pre-existing data. For example, you may be considering lowering your price but once you extract pricing information from eCommerce sites, you realize most of your competitors have a higher price point. What once started as a good goal, reducing your price, is now proven to be unnecessary since you are at a lower price point than the competition.
Conversely, learn what’s helping your competitors succeed by scraping competitor reviews. In some cases, capitalize on their oversights and use your product to solve their issues in an effort to convert customers. Or find out what worked for them and incorporate it into your business model.
Create smart ad campaigns
In an age of many options, having smart ad campaigns is a must. Extracting data from social media can help you understand consumer interests and even identify influencers to guide you with ideas for your next ad campaign. Extracting social data is crucial to creating smart ad campaigns that speak to people even in a world where they are constantly inundated with advertisements. Social data can help you make smarter decisions about how to really meet your customer’s needs and wants.
Web Scraping is the Perfect Data Extraction Tool
As I’ve pointed out, web scraping is easy, affordable, and helpful for those beginning to extract data. In addition to using a scraper to extract social data, there are tons of other data sources that web scrapers are great for. Below are different ways to use web scraping to extract useful data.
Scraping search results on Google Places for specific keywords and locations is great for small businesses. Because their competition is hyperlocal, using a scraper to ensure they aren’t physically close to competing stores or restaurants is the first step to choosing the right location.
When you scrape a specific keyword and location, the scraper extracts data for the top search results. When you scrape a keyword generally, you scrape data for the top web page search results that come up. This process is still useful for small businesses, but also useful for larger organizations whose competition is all online. For eCommerce sites, having your store come up in the search results will help with lead generation and increasing profits.
Hiring new employees
An essential part of success is surrounding yourself with a great team. Jobs sites can be scraped for data on jobs, reviews of your company, and to check that you are offering a competitive salary for your open positions. When hiring, it will be easier to attract top tier talent when you offer compensation that’s better than your competitors and can point to positive experiences of past employees.
If you’re searching for a job, scraping is equally useful for gathering data extracts about the best paying jobs at companies with positive employee reviews. This gives you extra knowledge about pay that makes salary negotiations land in your favor and makes you aware of any common employee complaints from the past. You will not only be better informed, but you will impress the person interviewing you when you show that you know lots about other open positions and the industry at large.
Custom scraping solution
While Scraping Robot’s modules are great for basic data extraction needs, especially for beginners, larger organizations might need more niche data or to scrape in large quantities. Creating a custom scraping solution with our Scraping Robot team ensures that you will get all the unique data you need to help your organization grow. Additionally, creating a custom solution means our team helps you manage proxies and develop your data strategy. For those in need of guidance on a specific project, our team’s knowledge is invaluable. Companies looking to scrape by the millions or billions while paying less per scrape will also find the custom scraping solution is great for them. If your project has unique data needs, then contact us to get started.
Asking “What is data extraction?” can feel daunting at first. But learning how to properly collect data in one form and make it more structured for analytical purposes is a skill that can take a business of any size to the next level. Web scraping is the perfect data extraction tool for beginners, helping you automatically extract data from web pages. Using web scrapers in your data extraction process is essential to collecting useful information that can help you grow once you analyze it.
The information contained within this article, including information posted by official staff, guest-submitted material, message board postings, or other third-party material is presented solely for the purposes of education and furtherance of the knowledge of the reader. All trademarks used in this publication are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.