A wide variety of professionals and companies are using data scraping today. It is a highly regarded technology for automating the extraction of unorganized web data and converting it into a manageable format. Data scraping mainly involves traversing a URL using a robot and using XPath, CSS, REGEX or other appropriate technique to extract the desired information from a webpage. Therefore, it provides a way of collecting information automatically from the web.
Currently, there are many data scraping solutions – ranging from fully automated solutions that can convert entire sites into structured information to ad-hoc systems that need human effort.
Data scraping has innumerable applications. Here are the most common uses of web scraping in business:
1. Tracking online presence
One of the important aspects of data scraping is that it can be used to crawl business profiles and reviews on websites. The information obtained can aid the evaluation of the performance of a product, user reaction, and behavior, etc. Web scraping can list and check tens of thousands of user profiles and their reviews which can be very useful for business analytics.
2. Extracting product and price data for comparison sites
There are site-specific web crawlers that crawl and scrape product prices, descriptions, and images to obtain data for comparison or affiliation. The data obtained on prices can aid in price optimization, which has been proved to improve profit margins by a significant percentage. Businesses in the e-commerce industry can take advantage of the available data scraping tools to ensure that they provide the best rates all the time.
3. Customer analysis and curation
This is mostly done by new channels/websites to understand their audience. The scrapped data can be used to know the behavior of the audience. For a channel, this can help to provide targeted news to the viewers. What you watch online, for instance, gives the behavioral pattern that the website can use to know what you actually like.
4. Managing online reputation
Today, companies are spending millions on maintaining a great online presence, and web scraping remains one of the most essential techniques for this purpose. Scrapped data can tell more about your online reputation management strategy as it helps you to understand the audience you hope to impact as well as areas that could hurt your reputation. With a reliable web crawler, you can easily reveal opinion leaders, sentiments in text, trending topics, and demographic aspects such as age and gender. You can use this information to your advantage.
5. Detecting fraudulent reviews
Opinion spamming, or the writing of fake reviews and opinions to mislead readers has become a major concern for people who depend on online reviews and opinions for different purposes. Web scrapping can be helpful in crawling written reviews, verifying genuine ones, and detecting and blocking fraudulent ones.
In the present age of big data and increasing competition, the usage of data scraping is endless. Your business can find at least one area where web data can be put to profitable use. Data scraping is thus an integral aspect of the 21st-century business.