How can web scraping help your business grow? From market research to machine learning training, extracting knowledge can aid and guide any data-driven decision in any industry sector.
You could easily try this by taking one of the use cases below to see if it works. After that, the remaining issue will be how to do it automatically.
1. Real Estate
Do you still check every day for newly published houses in your area? Or are you looking for a bargain?
Tracking real estate websites allows you to get all this curated information on time and without manual daily searches. Moreover, you could track price history per feature or neighborhood by storing this information, giving you invaluable insights.
But no need to stop there either. You could detect the most cost-effective ones by comparing that history to all new properties, Or check that some competitor is selling cheaper in a particular block.
2. Train Machine Learning Models
Collect massive amounts of data, either text or images, by scraping topic-related websites. That information might come from scientific papers, newspapers, or social media, whatever fills your needs.
If your model consists of animal image recognition, you might be interested in getting tons of pictures. You could do that by searching on Google images, but you need a bigger scale, which you might get with website scraping. And what's best: why not tag the pictures for supervised learning? Images usually have labels or captions with descriptive text mentioning the animal.
You could scale these results to thousands of labeled images from various sources. But advantages can go even further: a continuous stream of knowledge by recurrently doing this data extraction. Say, visit several nature magazines weekly to extract all these pictures and add them to your collection.
3. Brand Reputation
Related to the previous point, you could monitor your brand or competitors and use sentiment analysis to get what the market says about you or them.
Internally, this might get you complaints that aren't reaching Customer Support. Many people complain on Twitter but don't reach out to you, thus denying you the opportunity to solve their problem and prevent it from happening again.
Externally, you can detect a problem in a competitor's product earlier than they do, giving you a huge advantage. You can tackle that customer's problem with your product or learn from their error before yours gets affected.
4. Track and Rank Influencers
An important marketing and branding asset nowadays, influencers are getting more attention than ever. Knowing who to contact is crucial, whether you're a brand or an agency.
You may be targeting YouTube with a reduced budget, so you can't pay that notorious influencer who is so fashionable. You can probably use that budget more efficiently if you can segment your target audience and match it with several trendy influencers on that age range or topic.
Of course, you can't track thousands of them, and that's where web scraping comes into play. Getting and storing all that information in an organized way is essential. Then make the best business decision based on the available evidence.
5. Product and Price Tracking
Pricing is always complicated. Even more when it's dynamic, and your competition is doing the same. Then add thousands of items to the mix. There is only one outcome: madness.
But you can do better. And price monitoring via data automation will help you achieve it.
Keep an eye on each of your products and its competitors, match them and get invaluable insights. Get notifications when prices change or when competitors add or remove items. Whatever you can do manually can be programmed.
Discover trends or new product categories as soon as one of your opponents launches them. Get a head start on seasonalities by checking your competition's history and be the first one to launch swimsuits this year.
Trends and data are imperative for investors, and there is no easy way to keep track of the whole business from the outside. But gathering the maximum amount of information before a decision can turn the scale.
How would you compare the market if you were to invest in a new sneaker eCommerce? No one wants to invest blindly; data is the proof you need. Collect stocks, mean prices per category, visitors, the average time on page, and many other metrics for your candidate and some established companies. Then match and compare, and only then make an informed decision.
Are you prospecting and not looking at any company in particular? No problem; you can do the same with your expertise and detect the early outlier.
7. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Start a campaign by planning it right from the beginning. Get all the relevant keywords and search terms before paying anything so you can start optimizing beforehand.
Avoid paying for overcrowded terms and look for less common ones. It could be better to invest in several less-used words than overpay for the ones everyone is using.
You can also get awareness by checking "Related searches" for the terms you plan to use. You can do this by hand for a few, but not when there are dozens or hundreds of items to check and rank. Here is where automation comes in handy. And then the same to analyze results, no way of doing it accurately by hand.
Want to add competition or foresee new players? Automation is the only way.
Every extra piece of data a business can get before the decision-making influences the outcome. Every company can explore data-driven little by little; no need to go all in. But to get there, you need to extract that information, and website scraping is a great way.
Remember, you can do it manually the first time as a test. If it works and you think it's the way to go, join us for the next step: automation.