What is Web Scraping and why you should learn it

Why use Web Scraping for my business?

Data plays a major role in different aspects of businesses. Many small and large enterprises rely on different kinds of data to improve their business. Some forms of data needs to be extracted or scraped from other sources. Web scraping, also known as web harvesting or web data extraction, is the process of obtaining data available over the World Wide Web. A “scraper” extracts data from different websites, business directories, and even social media to collect email addresses.
Web scraping a web page involves fetching it and extracting the required data from it. Fetching is the downloading of a page over the browser. Once the data is scraped, it can be managed by the user and used for various purposes.

Web scraping early history

Scraping has been over the web since a long time. Businesses intend to use the data extracted for their commercial advantage. It may include extracting competitors’ promotional pricing or scraping information about competitors’ marketing campaigns. Before the advent of search engines, internet was a collection of File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites. The users could just navigate to find the shared files and use the data from that. People created a web crawler/bot to fetch all the pages over the internet.

As the internet grew, millions of web pages were available in the form of texts, videos, images, and audios. People started finding it easier to find the information they need from the internet. More and more people started using internet to get the data. That’s where web scraping came into picture. Web scraping is powered by web bots and crawlers.

Timeline of Web Scraping

Web Scraping History

  • 1989 – Birth of the World Wide Web
  • 1990 – Invention of the first web browser
  • 1991 – The first web server and the first web page came into existence
  • 1993 – The first robot – World Wide Web Wanderer
  • 2000 – Web API and API crawler
  • 2004 – Python Beautiful Soup
  • 2005-2006 – Visual web scraping software

Future of Web Scraping

Future of web scarping

People always want data. Business owners, managers, and employees collect data, process it, and turn it into various things. The data may be transformed into insights, researches, stories, information, and assets. A lot of time was spent for collecting the data previously, but with web scraping techniques, small and large organizations can save a lot of time, efforts, and money.

In 2018, the World Wide Web, generally called “the Internet” has more than 1.8 billion websites. It means that a huge amount of data is available with a few clicks. As more and more users are coming over the internet for various purposes, more data is generated each second. Web crawlers/bot, standard libraries, API, and software can help to scrape the data in different ways.

How do businesses benefit from Web Scraping?

business benefits of web scraping

Easy Lead Generation

One of the major aspects of every business is to generate more leads. You can search for the leads online on several websites or social media platforms. Web scraping can help you collect leads’ contact information in a short span of time.

Once you have the email addresses or phone numbers of your target audience, you can use it for marketing your products and services. It can be a good idea to send out information in the form of newsletters, invitations for events or other advertisements. Beware of sending spam messages or emails.

Competitor Analysis

Web scraping can help you collect and track competitor data to know what they do in order to make their business grow. Learning about your competitors’ activities, marketing materials, and advertisements can help you get insights about the latest trends in the industry. You can collect competitor data from multiple sources and make changes in your strategies to gain competitive advantage.

Intelligent pricing

Product and pricing data intelligence have been gaining popularity since the last few years. With the increasing competition in the ecommerce industry, it is essential to keep an eye on your competitors and market leaders and their pricing. Consumers have become smart and they compare the prices of products online before buying. Hence, web scraping can be used to get details about your competitors’ prices for various items.

Industry Research

Industry research is very important in today’s times of constant evolution. It is important to extract digital content for the latest industry trends, technological aspects, opportunities, and new developments in the industry in order to stay competitive in the market. Web scraping helps enterprises stay ahead by collecting data about the latest market and industry trends.

How to integrate Web scraping in your business?

If you are selling products or services online, your main aim would be to increase your user base. No matter what industry you may be into, you would need to grow your business sales in order to remain competitive in the market. You can employ your in-house team for web scraping or hire an external team of professionals for extracting data.

Before you get started with data scraping, you should know your exact goal behind it. iFlame institute has a team of expert web scrapers who have several years of experience in the industry. No matter what your requirements may be, our experts will help you get the best tailored solutions.

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