There is no doubt in the fact that in the age of the internet today, Data is a gold mine. Advances in technology and software development has definitely made accumulating data easier than it was before.

However, it is often disappointing to see that a number of companies are still not truly aware of the benefits Data has to offer. This is why we will be discussing a few interesting ways this mine can prove to be a crucial part of your business model.

What is Data Scraping?

Before we move on to the benefits, lets have a brief look at how this data is collected. As mentioned earlier, accumulation of data is fairly easy nowadays. For example, a clothing store accumulates lot of customer data which includes name, products purchased, price range preferred for purchase etc. which is entered into the computer program while the purchase is made and a transcript is given.

So, once all the data is accumulated, it is time to extract all of this data in order to put it to use. This is achieved by data scraping, a term that is uncommon nowadays. Technically, Data Scraping is a technique in which a computer program extracts data from human-readable output coming from another program.

Another Variant of Data Scraping is “Web Scraping”

Web pages are built using text-based mark-up languages (HTML and XHTML) and contain data in text form. A web scraper is an API or tool that extracts all this data from a web site.

Web scraping collects three broad categories of information from a website. These are:

1. Website Content: Content and information from all the pages of a website. (This is especially beneficial for eCommerce businesses that need to capture data from manufacturers or competitors.)

2. Website Usage: This kind of information is extracted from the server logs and browser activity tracking system. A Web Scraping Tool keeps visiting a competitor web page at regular intervals and accordingly keeps recording the changes e.g. Increase/Decrease in Inventory. This simple measure gives a fair understanding how often the product is sold at competitor.

3. Website Structure: This is the information extracted from links between people, pages, and other data structural data.

Once all the data is extracted, it can be further mined to analyze specific trends to manipulate your strategies for maximum benefit accordingly.

Now that the concept of Data Scraping is quite clear, we can move to the advantages implementing a scraping software.

Advantages of Data/Web Scraping Services

A few major advantages of data scraping softwares are as follows:

1. Saves Costs: Web scraping services are an essential service that are usually provided at a low cost. Besides the services being low cost, it also cuts costs of manpower and man hours required for the same job significantly.

2. Higher Speed: It is pretty obvious that for some straightforward jobs, softwares could do the jobs much faster. This is true in the case of data/web scraping. What could take human effort weeks to complete could be done within a few hours by scrapers.

3. Highly Efficient: Once a web/data scraper deploys the proper mechanism to extract data, it is extracted from every single source efficiently. For instance, in case of web scraping, data to be extracted from a website is extracted from the entire domain. This means that not even a single page is left out which is highly probable human error.

4. Consistent and Organized: Another great thing about scraper is that once deployed, they will continue to extract data until the data over or it is instructed to stop. This means that huge amounts of new data is uploaded, the scraper can be scheduled to automatically extract it.
All the required data once imported is sorted and placed in an organized structure for ease of use by a simple command.

5. Low Maintenance: Another reason of relief is that scraping softwares do not require lot of maintenance over the long periods of time which adds to its value.

As mentioned earlier, once the data is scraped, it sure is a gold mine for any business. Let’s take a look how.

Usage of Data Scraping

Data scraping accumulates and organize tons of data as required. Once this data is collected, it can be further used to:

1. Since the data is scrapped in a desired format, it can be used to make relevant databases of information which can further be used for a variety of purposes.

2. The scrapped data can be automatically transferred to your company’s business intelligence tools where the refined data can be used for analysis.

3. Since the data can be collected in a more organised manner, you can study it to determine trends of your product popularity, pricing analysis, competitive analysis, customer segmentation etc.

Based on these analysis, companies can ideate new strategies, or replace old ones in order to progress further effectively. Companies could also use this data to create a customer journey map that to enhance customer experience. There is an incredibly lesser chance of strategies failing since they are backed by statistics and not based on assumptions.

Conclusion

Data Scraping is not something new and not something immensely complex. In fact it is a crucial part of every business nowadays. Companies like Google and Facebook have their whole business model based around data scraping and are continuously evolving to extract more data. If they realize the value of this, so should you.