Marketers today are no longer limited to the data coming from internal tracking and analytics tools to gain a better understanding of the market. There are additional resources that you can use to acquire data for further analysis.
Web scraping is becoming the go-to method for marketers worldwide, especially when combined with other tools such as big data analysis.
There are several things to be done before you can get data from web sources effectively.
First, you should use a good scraping tool to automate the processes.
Second, you have to choose a reliable rotating proxy provider to keep the process smooth. Jump to https://smartproxy.com/blog/why-rotating-proxies-are-the-best and get up to speed with rotating proxies.
Let’s take a closer look at web scraping for market research.
Web Scraping Use Cases
Before you start looking for a web scraping tool and begin collecting data, it’s important to define your web scraping objectives.
Planning ahead helps you define the best way to search and collect information and the kind of data you need to gather in the process.
There are some exciting use cases for web scraping in marketing. For example, web scraping is perfect for price monitoring. You can integrate data acquired during your web scraping operations to build a price intelligence process to help you stay competitive in your market.
You can also use web scraping for monitoring trends and spying on what your competitors are doing.
With a carefully defined set of keywords and scraping parameters, it is easy to build a dashboard that tells you whenever new trends are reshaping the market.
On top of that, you can use web scraping for general news monitoring. In specific industries like finance, catching the news early and having a clear view of the market sentiment is the kind of competitive advantage that will keep you ahead of your competitors.
With the objective clearly defined, it is a lot easier to determine the data you want to gather. For instance, if you’re doing price monitoring for your retail business, you can specifically target e-commerce sites and create a scraping routine that gives you insights into the best prices for fast-moving goods.
Choosing The Right Proxy Service
One of the first things you want to have before scraping the web for data is a reliable proxy service that offers rotating proxies.
A rotating proxy makes it appear that your web scraping efforts look like normal traffic from regular visitors.
As the name suggests, a rotating proxy network automatically rotates the IP addresses you use to access web servers, allowing your web scraping tool to run smoothly without getting blocked.
Why are rotating proxies the best? Because they allow you to get around server limitations without additional manual work.
Using a conventional proxy server still lets you mask your real IP, but rotating proxies automate the whole process entirely. You don’t need those outdated proxy lists anymore because the rotating proxy service automatically assigns the right proxy to your connection.
Once you have a rotating proxy in place, you can choose the right tool for your needs. For example, you can run Selenium, a tool designed primarily for testing, to automate data collection from multiple websites if you have some experience with coding your runtime.
Other tools like Octoparse are friendlier to users, offering support for the more common RegEx patterns to help you define how it collects and cleans data. It runs on both Windows and macOS, plus you can still use the more advanced features such as automatic data pipelining to a database framework of your choice.
You can also prepare a data warehouse or a database for storing data, along with tools that further automate data processing. These are optional tools, but they help make insights from captured data easier to understand. It will not be long before you start gaining valuable advantages from web scraping.
The process of scraping the World Wide Web for data is more straightforward than you think.
You start by collecting data sources, usually in the form of web addresses. Next, you can use a crawler or build your list of source websites, depending on the data you want to collect.
Once a list of sources is ready, you can have the web scraper make requests to the web servers.
The scraper will receive ordinary HTML data and supporting files – essentially web pages – in return. Using the parameters you have defined, the scraper will scan each response and find relevant information to collect.
At this point, you can either have a CSV file with all your data structured as comma-delimited text or JSON output that you can save as text. Both are equally easy to work with and can feed into data processing tools without any adjustments.
The real magic happens when you start processing the collected data and generating insights.
That’s it! Web scraping is that simple, hence its popularity among those who rely on market research and market intelligence to level up their game.
You can also utilize web scraping to help you get updated prices, spot market trends, and understand your potential customers better.
Remember that choosing the right rotating proxy service is key to your scraping project’s success!