Data is key to future-proofing your brand. Web scraping is the first step towards achieving long-term data-driven business success.
Vary they might in their approach to business, yet a retail giant and an automobile brand agree on one thing.
You can draw parallels between financial conglomerates and humanitarian INGOs in one aspect, even though they are on the opposite sides of the spectrum.
The most successful Fortune 100 companies attribute their success to one readily-available resource — ‘data.’
Now, some people find this term a little vague. It falls under one of those categories of terminologies that ‘woke’ people of the day use quite copiously. Things like ‘growth’ and ‘work-life balance’!
Let’s set the record straight today and decide once and for all what kind of ‘data’ we mean when we say ‘Data that can help your business stand out.’ Follow us, dear reader, as we get to the bottom of this!
Throwback to a dark time in history
The world went through a diabolical pandemic in the middle ages, much worse than the one we faced in 2020 that tore the fabric of society asunder, wiping out 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s total population.
During that hopeless state of affairs, one man played a pivotal role in turning the situation around.
It was John Graunt. By making a detailed record of the mortality rates in London, he was able to generate consequential insights that helped figure out the causes of deaths.
This was the first instance in recorded history when someone made a data-driven decision. Since then the usage and significance of data has only escalated!
The rise and rise of data
Be it to collect the data of young men fit for war, or the ingenious data processing techniques of the Turing machine that helped the Allies win WWII, governments have constantly taken to data to make key decisions.
Bold innovations in data technology have helped the world usher in a new era of Big Data.
After the British computer scientist, Tim Berners Lee, invented the World Wide Web, not only did it lead to the explosion of data but effectively democratized it.
As per Techjury, 1.145 trillion MB of data is produced every day. Let that sink in!
How can ‘data’ help you
Think of an idea, and chances are you will find something related to it on Google, if not exactly that!
Suppose you have a plan to develop a product. Go to the web, and there are hundreds of materials giving you pointers to what you should be doing and what you should avoid completely.
Let’s look at a few ways data can help you.
Track market trends
Let’s say you own a travel agency or an airline. To provide the best service to your customers, having the infrastructure is not the only prerequisite.
In the highly competitive business landscape of today, you need to monitor your competitors’ prices, check to see if there are any price updates, and stay on top of price fluctuations that are pretty common in the aviation industry.
Figure out your customers’ pain points
Web scraping and sentiment analysis are like peas in a pod. Sentiment analysis uses NLP (Natural Language Processing) and computer linguistics to decipher the customer’s reservations regarding a service or product.
The internet is strewn with testimonials, reviews, and feedback. You can use web scrapers to gather all of those in a neat file and later perform sentiment analysis on it to get a better understanding of your customers’ pain points.
If you already have a brand and some of your offerings are not performing well, then the customer sentiment on eCommerce platforms like Amazon and Best Buy will help you make changes beyond conjectures.
Grab your customers’ eyeballs
Another goldmine for data is images. Advertisers for years have used them to win customers over to their business. While before the advent of the internet, choosing the right image was almost always a shot in the dark, it doesn’t have to be that way now!
By analyzing hundreds of images businesses like yours are using on the internet, you can draw meaningful insights and pitch your product with the right visuals.
Stay on the bullish trend
In the stock market, volatility is the name of the game. Stocks that reach the roof today can bury themselves in the ground, never to rise again.
In such a scenario, receiving timely data is crucial to discover patterns and make important decisions.
Since so many factors influence the market, you may need to extract data from unconventional sources like social media, news portals and aggregators, discussion forums, industry blogs, etc.
While data may not be able to predict the future for you all the time, it will give you everything you need to make the right decisions every time.
Raise the bar with data
The development of technologies like AI, machine learning, and IoT is pushing businesses towards adopting data-driven methodologies to achieve growth.
The applications of data are endless. It’s not a matter of how you can find data (we’ve got you covered on that!), but how you plan on using it to move towards a data-driven business future.
Big data is an everlasting fountain. So, drink my friend! But, before you go all-out coding your own tools and scrapers, let me point out – there’s a teeny-tiny catch.
Extracting data can be… tricky
While the idea of extracting data from the web is pretty straightforward, the nuances you will inevitably run into can easily complicate matters.
This could be anything from websites blocking scrapers, to geo-restricted content, or in the case of online retailers, product attributes changing overnight.
In essence, it’s about copying and pasting the information you need from a particular source into a format of your choosing — CSV, Excel, JSON, etc.
If your requirements are limited, you can download Grepsr’s browser plugin to extract data, for free.
But when you need large volumes of data from diverse sources, not to mention dynamic data (think Price Monitoring), I recommend you consider our premium Concierge service. It will help you fetch large volumes of highly actionable data, in real-time.
If you found yourself here looking for easy access to quality data at scale for long-term data-driven business success, then you might have just hit the jackpot!
I hope this article has proven fruitful.