Data is readily available now than it has ever been before. In the old days, companies had to rely on paper surveys and live focus groups to get a read on how customers felt about companies and products. Although surveys and focus groups can still be helpful, the mainstay of the data that should drive your business is available publicly online. All you need to do is gather and analyze it. Web scraping is an effective way of retrieving this data.
Data from Google trends, the census bureau, and financial websites provide a view of the big picture. Zooming in on how your website and competing sites are doing, analyzing data about visitors, sales, page views is essential. There is a wealth of USG or user-generated content on social media, review sites, and internet forums. With the plethora of data available, having the right tools, such as Residential IPs and web scrapers to harvest, it is essential.
Legitimate web scraping
One of the most efficient ways of conducting digital marketing research is web scraping. The procedure involves retrieving text from a website by lifting the HTML code and storing the information in a database. Virtually any text on the web can be scraped, but dynamic images embedded in a text or dealing with pages that require logging in may be a challenge.
There are questions about whether scraping is legitimate. The answer is it depends on how it is done. Scraping to plagiarize or retrieving sensitive information is obviously not correct. However, scraping information from websites that are open and publicly available is not really different from merely viewing it. As long as you aren’t trying to break any codes or hack past paywalls, there doesn’t seem to be an ethical issue.
The first step towards web scraping is locating the sites with the information you need. Having a residential proxy in place will ensure the scraping will be done anonymously. You can either create your own web scraping tool if you are well-versed in coding or select an app or software that can do the scraping for you.
For one-off scraping, a browser extension is sufficient, but a web scraper that is scalable and can handle a large amount of text is ideal for business. Some tools take care of the job from start to finish with spiders that crawl for specific data and pinpoint it before scraping. You can decide how data is validated and stored.
If you want to scrape a large amount of data, some scraping tools are quite fast and can lift as many as 500 pages in under seven minutes. This information can be stored conveniently on the cloud for further analysis.
The Era of Residential Proxies
Residential proxies can revolutionize data access. Residential proxies are issued by ISP or Internet Service Providers and are associated with a specific location. A website will perceive the residential proxy’s IP as the real one, whereas the user’s IP will be concealed. This allows anonymous browsing for visiting websites, web scraping, and conducting eCommerce marketing research.
Accessing geo-blocked content and getting a more geographically diverse selection of search results is possible with a residential proxy. When scraping web pages for research, a proxy will keep your IP address hidden to avoid getting blocked. Websites are wary of excessive action on their websites when it doesn’t appear to be regular customer traffic. Using a proxy is the best way to avoid getting blacklisted.
Scraping on the cloud
Cloud-based web scraping solutions simplify the process of retrieving and storing information and eliminate the need to carry out these procedures on your own system. The cloud makes scaling easier with automation that allows you to do other tasks while the scraping runs by itself. Some cloud-based scrapers can run projects from different IPs at once to make the task go more quickly.
Could-based systems provide ample storage that can be accessed from any device. There is no need to worry about storage limits, losing data, or the inability to call up certain pages from your mobile when you are away from the computer or database. Web scrapers that use the cloud divide the job up among various servers to keep your proxy IP from getting blocked if the website senses that too many actions are being taken from one specific address.
Data empowers business growth
Finding data that is useful for your business has never been easier. The trick is to zero in on the public data you really need to revamp your marketing strategy, attract new customers, and get an edge on the competition. Investing in a residential proxy and web scraping tools can provide access to a wealth of information for creating actionable insights. Businesses run on data, and make sure you provide your brand with enough fuel to win the race.
About the author
Efrat Vulfsons is the Co-Founder of PR Soprano and a data-driven marketing enthusiast, parallel to her soprano opera singing career. Efrat holds a B.F.A from the Jerusalem Music Academy in Opera Performance.