Organizations in every industry are placing more and more emphasis on collecting data. Forbes reported that 2,500,000,000,000,000 bytes of information were created every single day in 2018 which means that we’re producing valuable information every day, which, if harnessed, can translate into a revolutionary approach to business analytics. All this emphasis on data begs the question of why data is important in the first place?
Collecting data is useful for many reasons, but most importantly for understanding the state of your business or organization. It is only through collecting sales data, customer data, and other online data that you can begin to identify any problems or successful aspects of your business. Once you have the proper data, you can then analyze it and discover ways to improve your organization and get ahead of the competition. The importance of data collection lies in the immediate and long term improvements that result from the proper analysis. If you know the basics of data collection, use the table of contents to discover how web scraping is one of the most useful data tools.
Table of Contents
Why is Data Collection Important?
Data collection, the gathering of both internal and external data, is the first step to performing business analysis.
Web scraping is the automatic extraction of data from web pages. Learning web scraping skills is the first step to understanding proper data collection. Instead of trusting conventional wisdom, you can collect all the data necessary to make informed, smart decisions. No matter the industry, understanding your organization and competitors through data keeps you in the habit of reflecting often and making necessary changes.
The Importance of Data Analytics in Business
Data is useful in many industries, even creative ones. However, the business world benefits from data collection and analysis because it provides insights that can optimize your resources. The importance of big data analytics in business extends beyond sales numbers. With business data, you can find hidden costs, discover problems in your production process, and think more critically about your brand’s public reputation. There are many different business analysis tools out there to help you get started.
It is crucial that as an organization, you collect data related to your own operations and that of the competition and market at large. While it might seem basic, picking the right data sets to use puts you on the path to success. Using irrelevant data skews your results, therefore making insights less useful. For example, you must understand the average sales data for your market to properly contextualize your own data. Larger organizations that already generate internal data can use web scraping to collect supplemental data on competitors and the industry. Analyzing your business within the larger context is key for identifying issues and solutions.
The Purpose of Data collection and Benefits
Now that we know web scraping is one of most versatile data collection tools, it is important to understand the purpose of collecting data in the first place. The importance of data quality in business analytics proves that insights are only as good as the data generating them. Once you find the proper data to analyze, then you can reap some of the rewards. Below are just a few of the main benefits of smart data collection and analysis.
Make data driven decisions
In the past, marketing campaigns relied on general knowledge, focus groups, and what executives believed people wanted. With data, organizations have the ability to understand the desires and needs of consumers without conducting formal research groups. By scraping web pages, you can troubleshoot almost any organization problem with data. While there was nothing bad about the old way, using data is the most accurate and efficient way to find solutions.
For example, a makeup company would’ve previously created a product, run focus groups, redesigned, created ad copy, and then taken in the public reaction. Companies today have the advantage of using data to gauge consumer reaction through social media or online feedback. Scraping online reviews or social media comments provides valuable insight that companies can use to avoid designing an unwanted product.
Data driven decision making is more precise than traditional industry knowledge, therefore it is a better use of your organization’s time and money.
Turning the focus away from the market, the importance of data analytics is relevant internally as well. For products that involve a complicated chain of production (materials, design, shipping, etc), collecting data is useful for finding the weak links.
Through collecting data on internal costs and competitor product information, you can identify expensive materials or design details that aren’t generating any additional leads or profit. In fact, using data to analyze your workflow helps you discover which steps in the process are slowing you down or costing you too much money. Improving your workflow through simple data analysis is an easy way to reduce price, minimize production costs, and solve common consumer issues.
Brand image management
In our globalized economy, brand reputation is more important than ever. Consumers have seemingly infinite choices, especially with online shopping, so it can be harder to find loyal customers. Scraping social media sites for consumer sentiment data is useful for building your brand. By looking for social data related to your specific brand name, you can discover praises and complaints online. This is similar to online review data but different because someone might not expect you to see a tweet in the same way you would a formal review. Therefore, you can get more honest feedback from social media that reveals how people feel about your brand.
Finding topics and values via social media that are important to your target audience can help you build brand loyalty if it’s something you’re lacking. Many young people like myself are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of the products we use. If your target audience skews younger, incorporating eco-friendly design elements or processes as part of your brand’s core messaging attracts more of that younger audience and their loyalty.
Web Scraping and the Importance of Data Analytics
Web scraping is an essential tool for collecting data and making it shareable amongst your entire team. Scraping Robot offers 5000 free scrapes so that you can see for yourself how quick and useful the process is. Below are different methods for using scraping to enhance your analysis skills.
Consumer sentiment data
Consumer sentiment data, collected through scraping social media and other consumer oriented sites, is useful for gauging response to a new product or paradigm shift. Possibly most useful in marketing, gaining insights about the minds of consumers increases your odds of creating exactly what people need or want.
Scraping social media profiles of ideal customers informs you what other brands or accounts they follow online. This is useful for brainstorming future collaborations in advertising or marketing channels. For example, if a shoe company discovers through social media that lots of their customers are fans of a specific athlete, then it would be a good idea to try and involve that athlete in future marketing campaigns.
Online retail data
Because of the ubiquity of online shopping, there is tons of data to be scrapped on eCommerce sites. Collecting product information and reviewing data on competing products give you a sense of what design or brand aspects you might be missing. You can also scrape trending product pages, which inform you of which products are the most popular right now. If you are a seller working with many different products, understanding what to sell right away or hold onto is an important skill.
Online reviews are home to lots of consumer data. This can be as specific as feedback on the kind of fabric a shirt is made of to the general feeling of wearing it. The diversity of consumer data is what makes it important. Without balancing improving the product and finding the right customers, you will have trouble succeeding.
Many larger organizations already use certain analysis tools or programs to understand their collected data. With Scraping Robot’s API, you can use our scraping tools to collect data and then import them directly into your program of choice. This stops you from having to manually transfer the data and allows you to combine multiple data sets so that you can get the perfect balance of insights.
If our API sounds right for your project, check out our process page to get started.
With so much emphasis on data collection, it can be easy to forget the importance of data analytics. The data itself is just a part of a larger puzzle. By collecting relevant data, you will be building the right picture through analysis. Without taking the time to analyze data, your insights will be weak and you won’t reap the many rewards of data analysis. By using data in a smart way, your brand will grow, you’ll improve your workflow, and only make smart, data based decisions. With the right data on your side, there’s no limit to where you’ll go.
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