What does a trader, digital marketing specialist, event manager, Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur have in common? PromptCloud finds out how web scraping for research activities are done, in this blog.
They all thrive on data. Data is the newest clutter breaker. Okay, maybe not the newest, but definitely the one that withstood time and tide. It is the founding slab of all strategies and research.
Imagine you want to start your very own organic skin-care brand. It is a hyper-competitive market. It is powered by research, as is literally any other industry. Now you have the Herculean task of either conducting your own research through focus groups or relying on secondary research. The former is expensive, and the latter is laborious. Or is it? Web Scraping has got your back!
Imagine writing a computer program that would quickly, efficiently, and beautifully collect and compress all scholarly articles written on organic products, your target audience, and their buying habits, effective channels of marketing et al. Sound like a dream come true? Well, maybe because it is. Before we move onto explain what exactly web scraping is and how it can help you at literally any stage, let us tell you that all industries need it. Old and new alike.
Coming to The Matter at Hand, What Exactly is Web Scraping?
Copy and pasting data is so 2010, we can’t even wrap our heads around it anymore. Also, who even has the time to do that to hundreds and hundreds of pages. Web Scraping is a process of automating the extraction of data. With the help of premium web scraping services, you can extract any kind of data you want. The magic doesn’t end here. Say, you get to download it in any format you want. Retrieve, analyze, use the data at your own free will.
Web Scraping makes data irreducible, simplifies the process, saves time and effort by automating it, and makes it super accessible by providing it in a CSV format.
It fuels and powers research at every stage. Now you have solid data-backed evidence that your target audience wouldn’t mind paying a premium for your organic skin-care brand. The perfect amalgam of intuition and statistics.
Who Needs Web Scraping?
Like we mentioned before, for literally anybody who wants to conduct any sort of research and back claims with hard data, web scraping is The Bible of the research automation world.
The applications are infinite and absolutely mind-boggling.
1) Say you work for an airplane company. Christmas is around the corner. Your competitors are jacking up the price. You should too. By how much, though? Your competitors are offering a festive offer. It’s a task keeping track. Thank God for web scraping tools.
2) Say you work at a fashion house. You’d probably need to download all the trending styles in the Pantone color of the year. Automation will get you there. And how.
3) Are you looking to launch a news aggregator? It is not possible to consume every article and opinion on any event. Web Scraping crawls and extracts valuable inputs and converts them into actionable insights.
You get the gist; every industry.
Now that you know that you clearly need to employ Web Scraping Services, How do you go about it?
These are the bunch of questions you need to ask yourself before embarking on any data scraping project
a). What information do you tend to collect?
b). What is the exception at the end of this crawling activity?
c). Where and how should it be stored?
d). What is the shelf-life of this data? Remember, nothing is worse than antiquate data. We are moving at warp speed.
e). How often do you need to ‘refresh’ this data?
The next big thorn in our bush. Service selection. Since web scraping is entirely automated, service selection is paramount.
a). The requirement of the project and a web scraping tool in alignment with that.
b). Supporting operating systems.
c). Open source or paid
d). Language support
e). Data storage support
The Legality of Web Scraping
As you read this, there are roughly 44 trillion gigabytes of data on the world wide web, and web scraping accounts for approximately 52% of web traffic. There is an entire economy built on building sound research and analytics on web scraping. However, addressing the big elephant, is it legal?
As data available on any website is in the public domain, it is technically not illegal for all intents and purposes. How it is consumed and rehashed is what maneuvers the course of legal action.
Web Scraping, much like any automation service, challenges the status quo. Especially in the domain of research. Ergo, it is not surprising that the second main use for web scraping is research. 26% of companies that employ such services do it solely for just that.
Technology and data are getting more and more democratized every single day. We have to sway it to our advantage. Otherwise, what even is the point of all the tools bestowed upon us by the Internet Gods?
Web Scraping for research is the pathway to data heaven. If not the only one, the most sophisticated one.
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