Web scraping is used to automate data collection at scale. It can be used to cover a variety of business applications, including:
- eCommerce businesses scraping forums and search engines for competitor and/or sentiment analysis
- Marketing agencies deploying web scrapers to collect customer feedback and conduct market research
- Price comparison sites and content aggregators to display and update their listings
- Service businesses looking to scale their lead generation efforts
- Search engines crawling and scraping websites’ content for analysis and ranking
Let’s dive deeper into three of the most common use cases for web scraping:
1. Making Data-Driven Marketing Decisions
There is a lot of guesswork and assumptions in the world of marketing. Usually, the marketing team has some hypothesis on what might work based on their previous experience and industry knowledge. Now it’s preferred that businesses and marketing agencies use web scraping to collect data from:
- Social media platforms
- Search engines
- Competitors’ sites
- Public directories
2. Price Comparison and Analysis
Whether it is for building a price comparison site or launching a new product or service with the right pricing strategy, scraping data is one of the most useful applications of web scraping.
Businesses like eCommerce, service providers, and event organizers (to name a few) scrape competitors’ prices to establish their pricing models. This helps them provide optimal balance to increase conversions. However, it can also be used to establish trends in demand or investment.
3. Sentiment Analysis and Reputation Management
Forum platforms like Reddit and social media platforms like Twitter provide businesses and data scientists with a massive opportunity to collect users’ opinions on almost any topic – including competitors’ brands.
Using this data, companies can run sentiment analysis models to understand consumers’ preferences and opinions toward a particular product, brand, or topic. This is useful because it can provide the necessary context to launch new products, predict potential new markets, find problems within their own messaging, and understand how consumers perceive their brand (reputation management).
Of course, there are many more use cases worth exploring, like how eCommerce sites use web scraping to outperform their competitors how eCommerce sites use web scraping to outperform their competitors. In the end, data is everywhere on the web and can be scraped and repurposed in as many ways as you can imagine.
Important consideration: you should only scrape publicly available data. Data behind any kind of login wall is considered private and is illegal to scrape. The same goes for copyrighted information.