1. What is Web Scraping
Web scraping involves the extraction of data from a website. The practice provides umpteen benefits whether you are starting a business or want to grow it. The extracted information then transforms into a spreadsheet or an API for the user.
Websites contain a large amount of data to help you understand important things like product details, company contact, etc. You can access the information by either using the same format as the website or copying & pasting the data manually into a document. Here is where web scraping can be incredibly helpful. Even though web scraping is possible manually, it is better to use automated tools while scraping data as they are more efficient, work faster, and are cost-effective.
2. Importance of web scraping
We have listed the top reasons you should consider web scraping for future projects.
Technological advancement allows easy data extraction:
Today, access to technology makes it easier for anyone to do web scraping. With technological advancement, there is a lot of content on the web that can help you hone your web scraping skills. Web scraping service providers are a great source to help you collect the necessary data. Installing bots at scale is quite empowering for organizations to extract data efficiently.
The best and most productive outcome of web scraping and crawling is creation. Extracting web data in your niche sets the bar high in terms of invention. Businesses can create new products once they are aware of their competition. The use cases are limitless, and the web data is accessible to everyone, which ultimately pushes you to augment your value proposition. This results in quicker innovation and execution of new ideas.
Accessible company data:
Web scraping enables you to get a fully enriched company profile with all the information you need, including the date of establishment, the total number of employees, the business category, and so on. Any company’s sales team must automate its CRM.
You can create an automated sales machine with better access to crucial company data. First, you need to find the company using growth hacks like automating a LinkedIn search to find any company in your preferred category, a Google Maps search to find local businesses or AngelList companies hunt to find trendy and flourishing tech companies. One can aggregate each search depending on the quality and data accuracy. You can have tons of data on hand and save time.
Limitless marketing automation:
It is common knowledge that marketers are creative. Since with web scraping, you can do anything you want…., you have free rein. For instance, you happen to spot one of your rivals on Instagram, and they have a good community of 20k+ followers, but you know your product is far better than the rival and that the users can switch to you. How do you make the switch? Well, you scrape! From their Instagram handle, you extract each of their followers, and with such a list, you can follow or DM them. This is a high-end step since you know that the collected profiles have an interest in your product. Not only Instagram, but you can also do the same on Twitter or any other social media platform to use the data for your benefit.
The market of brand monitoring is rapidly growing. An important thing to notice is that checking other customers’ reviews has become a routine step in online purchasing. Today, buyers are more educated. And they like to get product recommendations and reassurance that they are making the right choice with you. However, businesses do not always check their ratings and reviews. Simply because it is not that easy. In this digital age, various platforms have reviews and ratings to extract and aggregate. One can monitor social media platforms and combine them with sentiment analysis to give a quick response to haters and reward users who show you love. Improving your brand image will directly reflect on ROI.
Market Analysis at scale:
With Big Data and Business Intelligence, it is crucial to consider quality over quantity. Web scraping can collect data on specific websites used by the distributors and build argus fed from the extracted data.
SEO and data extraction:
SEO is a great way to get visibility online. However, the tools one needs for SEO would not exist without data extraction. Hence, web scraping helps in this segment as well.
3. What is Alternative Data
Now that we are aware of the many benefits of web scraping; let us look into what Alternative Data is and how to scrape this kind of data –
Data gathered from non-traditional sources is alternative data. It is often associated with hedge fund managers and other investment professionals. This data is sourced from outside the company, making it more secure than storing a large amount of data internally. Usually, for investors, this means going beyond the company filings and the brokers’ opinions to get an edge in the market. The list includes social media commentary, product reviews, credit card transactions, and satellite imagery. These things help in the formulation of trading ideas. And they have the potential to move share prices.
4. How to scrape Alternative Data
Before the rise of digitization, collecting data was a mammoth task since it took a lot of time and resources. And even after a few years, this was the case as manually extracted data was strenuous. Thus, began the era of web scraping. It made everything smoother and upfront. But, the process still needed expert intervention for proper functioning. Companies with limited time and resources saw this as a challenge. Modern alternative solutions like web scraping tools resolved this issue. Businesses can now gain better insights with the automated process and gather important information from web pages. Next, they can process and store this data efficiently. Web scraping services help get alternative data sets from public websites. They give businesses access to information without investing more time and resources. In the years to come, alternative data will be beneficial to industries across the globe.
5. 2023 Predictions for Web Scraping and Alternative Data
There is a rapid growth in the popularity of web scraping and alternative data as companies look for innovative ways to grow their business. Experts predict that the limelight will be on augmenting ML, cybersecurity, generative AI, and growing web data applications.
The significance of generative AI in business use cases is huge, and data sets taken from the public web help in training these models. On the other hand, nowadays, cyber threats have evolved and we need aggressive protection measures to monitor these threats. Thus, the demand for persistent large-scale web monitoring will also increase.
In 2022, the web scraping industry took a breather as companies resisting scrapers could not use CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) in order to stop the extraction of public data. The previous year had a few cases of private data breaches and data scraping. In 2023, the web scraping industry can introduce self-regulatory enterprises.
The abilities of AI technology are rapidly growing and evolving. Hence, the importance of web data applications in the business world will continue to flourish this year. The use of ML models will increase as a combined effect of focusing on the quality of data and making ML better function. Incorporating predictive modeling capabilities and machine learning will influence revenue.
In 2023, industries will fully utilize data science and augment their trained scientists with the latest technologies to systemize consistent portions with suitable approaches.