Screen Scraping Vs. API Scraping: Why API Is Better

Scraping Robot
March 23, 2022

Screen scraping and Application Programming Interface (API) scraping are pretty common in this data-driven world, where screen scraping technology has become an efficient method for your business to gather competitor data. Scraping data is essential for businesses because it allows you to:

  • Analyze competitors
  • Break into new markets
  • Update websites
  • Make Payments
  • Discover what’s trending

Table of Contents

You should further investigate the different methods of scraping when deciding on which one is right for you. When it comes to screen scraping vs. API, research the differences between these technologies, what each of them can be used for, and which technology is best suited for your business to find the most accurate and helpful data.

If you already know what you’re looking for, see the table of contents and jump to the section you need.

What Is Screen Scraping?

screen scraping

Screen scraping is an internet scraping tool that collects information from the portions of a website screen display, such as images and text.

For example, a screen scraper will compile data from user interface elements, such as terminal sessions, checkboxes, and text fields. The user can change these elements for their own applications, and a screen scraper can gather the information that a user inputs.

Screen scrapers can also gather information from screenshots, pdf files, and other documents to quickly compile the data into a database. To break down the definition even further, you perform a basic manual screen scraping every time you copy and paste from another website.

What Is API Scraping?

api scraping

API scraping allows you to collect data from other websites in real-time without manual input. After you implement an AIP, it’ll scrape during the time interval you choose and transfer that data to your database.

If you don’t have a database, you can download your information via an HTML file and view it on a spreadsheet. You’ll be able to analyze scraped data, such as:

  • Webpage popularity
  • Website views
  • Post titles
  • Target keywords
  • Product prices
  • Sales numbers

API focuses on a website’s traffic and numbers rather than the aesthetic view users see. API is more valuable because you get access to analytic and raw data numbers — immediate access to the information you want.

Screen Scraping vs. API Scraping: What’s the Difference?

difference between screen and api scrapingIn short, screen scrapers pull a website’s display data, and API scraping solutions extract the data from inside the webpage.

At first glance, screen scraping and API scraping seem like similar tools. After all, they’re both data-collection methods and scraping software. But not all methods and software offer the same benefits. The difference between screen scraping and API scraping matters because it affects the quality of the data you collect and the specific information you scrape.

Screen scraping might be helpful if you’re a designer, copywriter, or marketer because it allows you the customer-appealing aesthetic view of your competitors’ websites. However, screen scraping doesn’t show the raw numbers of that customer appeal, which is what you want to see when devising business pivoting strategies. API scraping offers information on the health of a competitor’s website. It shows how well a post is doing from the number of views and other raw data points.

With API, you get the best of both worlds. You can access the display data of a website’s aesthetic features and the analytic data from within. And that’s what makes API scraping a more valuable solution for your business.

What Are the Top 5 Ways To Use Data from API Scraping?

different ways to use data from api scraping

API scraping offers you considerable data that might have been harder to retrieve if you were to manually compile that information from screen scraping. You can use API scraping to gather various data points for almost any industry.

1. Trend information

API scraping is the best way to receive daily or weekly updates on trends. Industries that take advantage of these updates include aggregate and niche websites, retail, and travel. However, API scraping is also excellent for other sectors, such as news outlets and research studies, that need updated data minute-by-minute.

In addition, API scraping is a useful tool for bloggers and niche-website owners because it automatically compiles popular post ideas for content curation.

2. Build business pivoting strategies

API scraping technology allows you to make more commanding decisions to promote your business growth.

For example, API scraping can extract the traffic and sales-number data on popular competitor products. As a result, you can devise better business strategies based on your primary competitor’s analytics in the dropshipping or retail industry.

Additionally, you can choose to pivot your product line by analyzing your competitors’ website traffic and product comparison.

3. Review financial data

You can also use API scraping to adjust your dynamic pricing eCommerce listings and seek industry-dependent investment opportunities, such as new products, profitable niche websites, real estate locations. API scraping can monitor all of these trends in real-time to avoid delays with investment decisions in new products.

4. Detect criminal activity

API scraping solutions can help you respond to illegal activity, such as counterfeit products sold on social media and through online retailers. Perhaps that’s not something you initially thought about during your research, but you can use API scraping to detect counterfeit products — a significant problem in the online retail industry.

Using the right scraping tools for your business needs can also help you access counterfeit products bootlegged overseas. While you might not see the products in person, you can get scraping software that uses a proxy IP address to change your geological location. As a result, you can access internet features in different parts of the world.

And while scraping search engines and social media comes with their hiccups due to anti-botting software, Scaping Robot’s API scraping solutions offer optimized proxy servers to help you hurdle over these obstacles.

5. Create aggregate websites

An aggregate website collects content from around the web for publishing. While they may not publish original content, these websites aren’t committing plagiarism, either. The aggregate website must cite the source and link to the original website.

API scraping collects data from niche-related websites to create your database, compiling the information on your aggregate website. You can set up API scraping to automatically update your database feed every day and pull the articles with specific keywords surrounding your niche from your choice of websites. Then, you can paste the code on your website to set up an aggregate.

Why Is API Scraping Technology the Best Option?

find reason why api scraping is best

Low-quality software leads to poor quality or inaccurate data, which can be detrimental to your company’s finances and public relations. For example, low quality scaping software can lead to:

  • Privacy Breaches
  • Hefty fines for data breaches
  • Mismarketing communications
  • Negative Customer Experience

However, Scraping Robot’s advanced API scraping solution provides you with accurate and valuable data collection, staying ahead of the IP blocks, CAPTCHA, and search engine crawlers.

With Scraping Robot’s API scraping technology, you get a company that prides itself on keeping its software up to date while maintaining ethical practices. Scraping Robot follows all best business practices when it comes to designing its API scraper, including:

  • Respecting robots.txt file information of a website
  • Programing the timing of your scraping activity to appear human
  • Scraping during low traffic times
  • Respecting copyrights

If you want large sets of valuable data for your company, you need Scraping Robot’s API technology. Scraping Robot provides proxy IP addresses to help you extract data from domestic and international websites while keeping your business safe.

Scraping Robot is committed to providing users with the best possible data extraction experience. Furthermore, Scraping Robot will go the extra mile when your business has special requests and needs more information than the API scraper typically retrieves.

Final Thoughts

conclusion on screen and api scraping

While both screen scraping and API scraping can give you information on a website’s aesthetic view for content curation or design inspiration, keep in mind that they are, in fact, different technologies with different outcomes. With screen scraping, you can get data that website users put into elements on a website, like text boxes. However, API scraping gives you so much more for your business growth. Gather and use the analytical data about traffic and sales to fulfill your business needs and strategies.

Scraping Robot knows how critical screen scraping vs. API scraping is to online business growth, and gathering your much-needed data is no longer a challenge. If you didn’t previously know that scraping existed, didn’t know how it worked, or didn’t know if you could afford to do it in-house, then Scraping Robot is your answer. Visit Scraping Robot today and get started with your first 5000 API scrapes for free.

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