Data is the new oil and increasing organizations are focusing on reorienting their digitization strategy around data. Data drive digital initiatives and enterprise data has a typical journey all the way from sourcing to intelligent visualization.
A Data journey comprises of four stages:
1. Scraping – Web scraping is a powerful data sourcing technique that leverages tools and frameworks to scrape data from the public domain. The scraped data can be aggregated and transformed into the meaning format and loaded into any database in a structured format. Web scraping can be done using custom programming or by leveraging many tools.
2. Data Labeling – Labeling training data acts as the first step in the machine learning development cycle under Computer Vision. Consider we need to train a machine learning model to identify a specified category of objects from the collection of data. We would need to collect representation data samples which have to be classified and analyzed along with a Machine Learning algorithm for handling each sample.
3. Leveraging AI & ML – The power of Data via Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can be classified into 3 – Vision Analytics, Text Analytics, and Conversational AI.
4. Data Visualization – Data visualization helps in simplifying complex quantitative information into easily accessible representations such as graphs and charts. Data visualization is the final leg of the data journey where we aggregate data via scraping or ETL, annotate, build a cognitive intelligence layer, and enable tangible evidence via data visualization.
Journey of Obtaining Data
Traditionally over the years the data (be it customer (or) otherwise) has been always collected through a form. We still remember filling out forms provided by the stores once the purchase is done (or) while making the bill payment. The forms will have a set of questions and most of the time we scribble through answers and not bothered to make it right every time.
Things have changed drastically now and in today’s scenario companies/enterprises collect data through customer/users’ activity such as conversations, subscriptions, likes, comments, online feedback, reviews, and ratings. Social media plays a vital role in collecting customers’/users’ data that are more candid and authentic.
Copy and Paste (CTRL C + CTRL V) – was the most used key on a keyboard while gathering information/data from multiple websites. Collecting data from multiple websites is time-consuming, tiresome, less productive, and a tendency to have higher human error. Top of all, copying and pasting manually is a complicated process too.
Web Scraping helps to overcome the complications and setbacks. Not only that, but it also plays a key role to fetch huge data sets in lesser time with more quality and accuracy and top of all in a consistent way.
According to research,
the global Web Scraping Software market size is projected to reach US$ 186.88 million by 2026, from US$ 149.09 million in 2020, at a CAGR of 3.75% during 2021-2026.
What is Web Scraping?
- Web scraping is a technique that is used to not only extract data from websites but also save it in the form that one intends to.
- Copy and paste data from large websites and copy-pasting vast data is next to impossible – top of all there are websites that don’t encourage/allow copy and paste option.
- With web scraping, the processes of extracting data can be automated and the same can be used for analysis and future use. With the help of web scraping, extracting data becomes easier, less time-consuming, and more accurate.
- In simple terms, web scraping simplifies the process of extracting data, speeds it up by automating it, and creates easy access to the scrapped data by providing it in a CSV format.
- The web Scraping process saves time and money. The accuracy of data collected is higher compared to that of manual processes. Since the time is saved up in collecting and analyzing data, the time to build a product lessens, hence it takes lesser time to push the product to market.
- The quality of data and the consistency can only go higher with multiple tools put in place. This helps businesses big time and gives them a competitive edge.
Web Scraping – Benefits
Benefits of Web Scraping in Top 3 Business Segments are,
- Market Research
- Content Aggregation
- Competitive Analysis
1. Market Research
Performing manual research on industries such as eCommerce, Tourism, Hospitality, Recruitment, etc. is an exhausting process since these industries evolve continuously.
With Web scraping services in place, one can efficiently and effectively collect/extract all the data that are essential in a structured format. Not only that – one can also set the frequency in which the data must be collected. With industries evolve frequently and continuously, setting up a frequency at which the data must be collected is a boon.
For a customer to buy a product, choose a product over its competitors, keep changing buying patterns, making new product purchases – there shall be a hidden factor (or) a unique factor.
This may vary from customer to customer. With web scraping, businesses can identify the factor that motivates customers to buy. Not only identify, but businesses can also align their product or service according to the target audience.
Businesses can understand the customer’s behavior better now than ever and can easily categorize their customers based on Age, Geography, and Buying patterns. These factors help businesses to reach out to their target audience swifter and quicker.
With the use of Web Scraping, Businesses can now perform the following key activities.
- Enhance Customer Experience by behavioral and sentimental analysis
- Predict customer purchase pattern by scraping Wishlist/past purchases
- Scrape business networking sites for better marketing/branding activities
- Scrape reviews/ratings/feedbacks data from social media sites effective branding
2. Content Aggregation
Content – the core aspect of the engagement. The more content is good – the more the audience base is created. Content determines the website’s success. Content is the index of a website.
For any business to happen, the customers/end users firstly get to know the product they are looking to purchase. So, they come and visit the website to know more about the product/service they are looking for. More than 65% of the clients/users/buyers come into your website through various search engines.
This being the reason, there is always stiff competition among businesses to rank their website as top as possible in the search engine.
Websites displays at the top during a search always give the business more audience – in turn sell your product or service more.
To be ranked among the top, the website content needs to be rich, crisp, meaningful, and top of all in trend with the market performance.
Appropriate content on the website increases visibility creates branding and attracts more clients/customers.
With web scraping in place, businesses can
- Scrape multiple content-oriented platforms to enrich website content
- Scrape competitor keywords to increase organic search result
- Scrape job sites to attract potential candidates.
- Find trending business keywords and build content accordingly
3. Competitive Analysis
For any business to perform and succeed – knowing the moves of competitors is the key. Without a proper analysis of what the competitor does, it is highly unlikely for the business to be on top or have an edge.
Steve Jobs said – You can’t look at the competition and say you are going to do it better. You must look at the competition and say you are going to do it differently.
Through web scraping, the business can strategize a plan based on competitor analysis.
Web scraping also provides data on the ways in which competitors are reaching out to end-users, product information, stock value, pricing, buyer’s behaviour etc. By doing so, it is easy for a business to position themselves better in the market and keep improving their product and marketing activities.
Web scraping help decision-makers with the following:
- Pick the right competitors
- Understand their pricing model
- Enhance business opportunities
- A multi-channel approach to earn new customers
There may be multiple factors such as brand value, reviews, new launches, etc. for a customer to buy a product. However, pricing always is the key factor. Web scraping helps businesses to sell the products/services more efficiently by understanding the pricing strategy adopted by their competitors.