According to the World Economic Forum, there are over 44 zettabytes of data online. The 4.66 billion global internet users contribute by adding 2.5 quintillion bytes each day. All this information that runs wild and free all over the web is referred to as big data. Big data moves so fast and is so complex that it requires specific methods to be extracted and processed. Yet, once relevant values and patterns are found, it’s incredibly valuable in business.
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Scraping the right data can help you optimize your models to better meet your company’s needs — along with your customer’s. However, although not less important, collecting the data is just the first step. Up to 90% of companies are unsure how to manage unstructured data once they’ve collected it. It’s essential to plan specific projects in advance to put your data to good use. Otherwise, the whole extraction process would be in vain.
If you still wonder how to use data effectively to greatly enhance your business, you’ll find numerous ideas below. Feel free to skip to the sections that interest you the most by using the table of contents.
How to Use Data to Improve Business
Data is valuable in all aspects of business. It allows you to make strategic decisions faster within your different departments and gives you an edge over your competitors. Here are the most relevant ways in which the right data collection ideas can become a strategic advantage for your company.
1. Identify opportunities
Data can help you make more accurate projections of your business sales activity and improve your customer relationship management, marketing strategies, social media content, and even your website operations. Data can also aid in understanding your customers’ purchasing decision process so that you can implement the most compelling strategies and increase your sales.
2. Outperform your competitors
Data gives you a sneak peek at what the competition does to meet their customers’ needs. It will also reveal what customers say about certain products online and help you identify what to do to improve your own. You can use data to manage your brand’s reputation, learn how your customers view you, and assess the areas in which you can improve.
3. Expand into new markets
Demographic data is useful when determining whether you should expand into new markets. You learn where and how potential customers search for products and services like the ones you offer. You can use this information to target your advertising campaigns and to place your products exactly where your audience can find them.
4. Improve operations
Data can give you valuable insight into every stage in your operations and processes. This information gives you the upper hand when diagnosing your weaknesses so that you can take action.
5. Recruit, grow, and reward talent
Your ideas for data collection can also transform your HR department. You can extract information from recruiting sites to know what other companies in the industry look for in their applicants. Data can also help you evaluate your workers’ performance to determine bonuses and raises and keep morale high.
13 Big Data Project Ideas
Now that you’ve learned the core advantages of using big data in business, it’s time to learn how and where to apply this knowledge. Whether you’re wondering how to use big data in marketing or finance, here are 13 big data project ideas that can benefit your company.
1. Data warehouse design
A large collection of data is essential to make educated decisions in business. A data warehouse will help you manage a large inventory, take care of logistics, modify your prices, and more. An efficient data warehouse will let you classify information based on the age group, sex, location, and interests of your customers.
2. Process server logs
A web server log keeps track of page requests and activities performed while browsing a specific site. You can use this information to determine a solid search engine optimization strategy.
3. Generate recommendations and cross-sales strategies
Some platforms appeal to their audiences with recommendations of products or services that might interest them. This can help you maximize engagement and increase your sales. Extract data about previous purchases and trends to predict what customers want and need.
4. Monitor traffic in real-time
Bringing traffic to your company’s site is critical. Monitoring traffic lets you know whether your marketing efforts are working. If you use traffic monitor data you can evaluate where you need to put more attention.
6. Visualize search trends
Scraping data from search engines can give you a glimpse into what users are looking for and what keywords they’re using. This will help you improve your search engine optimization strategy and even understand what products or services you should be offering if you aren’t already.
7. Price comparison
You need to know how to properly price your products and services in order to stay competitive in the market. Data extracted from product listings, search engines, and competitor sites will allow you to determine a pricing strategy that will help you crush the competition.
8. Generate leads
While keeping an eye on your existing customers is important, you also need new prospects to grow your business. The pertinent data from your competitors and social media offers substantial clues on where your potential customers are and can help boost your sales.
9. Assess financial stats
Keeping tabs on financial data helps you determine how to keep your company financially responsible and profitable. Data will help you visualize investment trends and other money-making opportunities.
10. Ensure compliance
Data scraping allows you to keep a real-time log of policies and regulations that affect compliance. You can stay up to date and know exactly what rules apply and when you need to use them. News outlets and governmental sites are excellent sources of this type of data.
11. Find and analyze credit ratings
Data collection can also identify potential risks. If you run a financial company, for example, you can determine which clients you can trust with a loan or credit and estimate the possibility of them not paying back.
12. Equity research
Use big data to learn how much ownership your fellow entrepreneurs have in their companies, as well as the value of their shares. The stock market evolves constantly. Big data will help you navigate it more successfully.
13. Evaluate venture capital funding
Gather data on start-ups and small businesses to learn about their funding. You can collect this type of information from numerous specialized websites and discover investment opportunities in new industry niches.
The Best Tools to Collect Data
Data gathering is an incredibly powerful resource for business when done correctly. However, taking the wrong approach to data scraping won’t lead to the results you desire. Choosing the right tools will significantly boost your chances of success. To scrape the web efficiently, you’ll need:
- A good proxy provider — Using proxies is essential in web scraping to mask your identity and protect your machine. It will also make your web scraping exercise more effective by making your requests look more like a human and less like a spybot.
- A scraping bot — This will take care of the hardest part of your data analysis. A scraping bot will manage your proxy and rotation needs, and help you bypass the most common anti-scraping mechanisms on the web.
Best Practices For Data Gathering
Most sites are extremely wary of web scraping. It’s nothing personal. Some malicious actors use data scraping as a way to attack servers, steal sensitive information, and use the data gathered to commit fraud and other cybercrimes. In consequence, the internet is plagued with anti-scraping technologies that stop bots in their tracks. To avoid getting caught off guard, you must always do the following when web scraping:
- Space out your requests
- Respect the website’s robots.txt file
- Avoid copyright infringements
- Rotate your proxies
- Use more human-like patterns
In today’s business world, data is power. Extracting it accurately and using it in your business operations will give you some clear advantages to grow your company and make better decisions. The data ideas above are only a few examples of what you can do with such a powerful tool in your hands. Use it responsibly and remember to keep your data-collecting operations ethical and respectful.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some insight on how to use data. If you need help with web scraping or are looking for tools to enhance your data-collection process, our Scraping Robot API will certainly come in handy. Visit our site today and test our different modules to learn which one suits your needs better.
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