In an interview with USA Today, Stephen Hawking said, “We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.” This particular quote from the king of cosmology himself resonated with my personal understanding of the World Wide Web. There are an estimated 7.5 billion people on the planet. And like the above-mentioned neurons, we are continually firing off signals in the form of data. I don’t know about you, but I’m sure my brain will explode if it tried to process that much data.
Now granted, there are ways for the individual to dissect a topic further. I can go onto Google and type “pizza” into the search bar and get about 3 billion search results back. But wait a minute, I wasn’t just after pizza. I was after “how to make a homemade pizza.” When I enter that exact phrase in Google, it yields about 300 million results. That is much less but still enough to give you a brain aneurysm if you tried to process it manually. How do you collect and collect data in large enough amounts to develop a data-driven strategy for business or personal purposes? Web scraping, that’s how.
If you’ve never heard of web scraping, then this blog post is the perfect introduction to all web scraping has to offer. After defining the phrase, I’ll take you through a myriad of web scraping ideas. From sales to marketing purposes, these web scraping ideas will transform the way you hunt out knowledge on digital platforms.
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Before We Talk About Web Scraping Ideas…
The internet is an entire universe. You might remember from school that the scientific definition of a “universe” was “a pretty freaking big place to navigate on your own.” Wait, is that not a technical enough explanation?
In any case, if the internet is the universe, then every search you make is one single star in that universe. There are billions of stars in the universe. As a business owner looking to identify what people are searching for in relation to your business, you are much like an astronaut sent to look for a single star in the universe with no other information than that it exists. Impossible, right? Enough of the universe analogy.
As of 2018, more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were being generated daily. That is a mind-boggling amount of data. Thinking of how to process it is enough to give you a migraine. But what if didn’t have to be that hard? What if there was a method you could use to access data wherever you want at any quantity you want? Let’s talk about web scraping and what to do with web scraped data.
What is web scraping?
Web scraping is a way to “scrape” the internet for similar topics and keywords. How does it work? I’m quite sure you have carried out a Google search more than once before. And when you get to the results page, you click different links to get information from them before making a decision. Well, what you have done is web scraping.
At the micro-level, web scraping is simply the act of collecting data from the internet, in any form. However, at the macro-level, web scraping allows you to collect data in large volumes by using bots. The bots, called “crawlers” or “spiders” parse through the source code of a given web page and tag data according to some preset parameters. Then a data extractor collects the tagged data and extracts it into a spreadsheet file. This essentially is how web scraping works. So how do you apply this to your business? What are the ways web scraping can come in handy for business purposes? Let’s take a look at some web scraping ideas.
Data Scraping Ideas
Data scraping project ideas for marketing
1. Competitor analysis: Our first web scraping example is competitor analysis. Competitors are one of the best sources of data for you. Like Sun Tzu said, “Know thyself and the battle is half won. Know thine enemies and you will be victorious.” By collecting data on your competitors, what they sell, and how they sell to their target audience, you’ll be equipped to market your business at an expert level. This kind of web scraping is useful for businesses that are growing and adding new competitors regularly. Retailers and restaurant chains alike benefit from understanding their market rivals.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Before we can discuss the next item on our list of web scraping ideas, we first need to define it. SEO stands for search engine optimization. In short, SEO is a way to ensure your website has a high ranking on the search results page. What does this have to do with data scraping? A data scraping tool can scrape for the ranking of company websites and extract the keywords those companies use to describe their websites. Once all that information is collected, a marketing team can use the top keywords to get a company’s website higher on a results page. Most people (myself and you included) only click on the first few results of the first page of search engine results. So that’s where you want your website to be. Web scraping can help you get there.
3. Social media reputation monitoring: Monitoring your social media channels is one of the best ways to keep an eye on your company’s reputation. Most of your consumers are on social media and the platforms have become a favorite for consumers looking to praise or call out a particular on the quality of their service. With web scraping tools, you can easily wade through the mass of data being generated on social media to identify the comments related to your business and address them.
Web scraping ideas for sales
4. Goods and services price comparison: Pricing is an essential and very delicate part of any sales strategy. And that is why it qualifies as one of our web scraping ideas. Overpricing your goods can make you lose customers while underpricing it will make you lose money. You need to get the price just right. With web scraping, you can easily build a competitive pricing strategy by collecting data on industry-standard prices, competitor prices and the price consumers are willing to pay for your product based on their reviews and comments. The analysis of these three sets of price versus your cost of producing a product is what will lead you to the perfect price to charge.
5. Consumer analysis: I worked in sales for a number of years, and let me tell you – it’s almost impossible to sell a product without first knowing who’s buying it. Another entry on our list of web scraping ideas is consumer analysis. We’ll refer to the first part of Sun Tzu’s statement above that says, “Know thyself and the battle is half-won.” Knowing yourself in this context includes knowing your customers. If your customers don’t exist, neither can your business. So you have to know everything about them. What they do, where they are found, their age-bracket, their marital status, etc. Web scraping can help you obtain all this data. You can scrape social media websites for publicly available data like their location. You can scrape review platforms for their sentiments as a consumer and not just a person. What are they complaining about? What changes are they suggesting? All these help to give you more insight into who your ideal customer is. You can also use web scraping to keep an eye on consumer trends in your industry with the aid of API technology.
6. Lead generation: More than just keeping an eye on the customers you already have, web scraping can also help you to generate new leads. You can scrape competitor websites, social media, business directories, etc. to identify your people or businesses that fit your ideal lead personality and capture their contact data or any other dataset you need to target them better with your ad campaign.
Data scraping ideas for finance
7. Equity research: Next on our list of data scraping project ideas is equity research. Placing a value on our own worth is an intimidating prospect. However, when speaking about shareholder values, you need to be sure of that worth. A web scraping tool can eliminate any uncertainty regarding what the owners of a business are worth. Checking the web for how much ownership your competitors have over their company or what their individual shares are worth can keep your company competitive. The stock market is an ever-changing beast. Conducting constant research on stock values and prices helps keep you on top of an uncertain financial entity. Research of this nature could also tell you when buying and selling shares will prove to be valuable.
8. Financial statistics: Many companies wouldn’t exist without both investors and clients. Money is a fickle concept. Businesses can lose money as quickly as they make money. Last on our list of web scraping ideas is financial data. Scraping the web for said data will help make your business profitable, sustainable, and fiscally responsible. Financial data analysis will make you aware of buying trends and what consumers are tired of seeing on shelves and online stores. It will also make it easy for you to identify new opportunities to make your business more profitable.
More Applications of Web Scraping
9. Automation: You might be wondering, “automation? Doesn’t that have to do with bots and all that?” I wonder who mentioned bots earlier. Oh, that’s right. Me! Web scraping bots basically, are a form of automation as they help you collect data without expending human effort. But one of the major applications of web scraping is also to automate your analysis strategy. With web scraping, you can feed data directly into your analytics strategy, making it easy to use the most current data to base your analytics on. So after automating your data collection and collation process, you can go ahead to automate your analytics strategy too—all with web scraping. Automation is one of the web scraping ideas people tend to ignore more, yet it serves as the backbone of the entire web scraping concept.
10. Recruitment: You can scrape job-listing websites and professional platforms like LinkedIn for data on the kind of jobs being posted and the qualifications required. You can also scrape candidate data from these places. These datasets will give you an idea of the skill sets available in the industry so you can adjust your needs to fit.
11. Real-time analytics: Web scraping bots use API technology to access data in real-time. This means you can use web scraping to keep up with data as it is being updated and implement a real-time data analytics system in your business processes. Using fresh data will allow you to avoid mistakes from the use of outdated data and web scraping can help you with this.
Seeking Help With Web Scraping Projects?
Now, if you are looking for the best web scraping service to help you implement an efficient web scraping strategy and collect the data you need to fuel the web scraping ideas, then you are in the right place. At Scraping Robot, we have developed a cutting-edge scraping technology, and we delight in helping our customers craft the best possible data scraper to fit their needs. To get started, just send a message to our developers with your custom scraping requests. You don’t limit yourself in business, so why limit the way you use data scraping?
All it takes to get started is signing up through our handy website. From there, you’ll talk firsthand with one of our scraping experts. You can also try out our pre-built scraping modules for a DIY scraping experience. All it costs is $0.0018 per scrape, and you get 5000 free scrapes to start. Check out our pricing page for more info.
Honestly, web scraping offers so many opportunities for the enterprising business owner. We could keep listing web scraping ideas forever, and we still wouldn’t list them all. The point is that they exist and with the help of Scraping Robot, you can easily obtain all the data you need to fuel these interesting applications of web scraping.