Web data extraction processes have given enterprises the ability to gather information that can build their businesses and make them more competitive in the industry.
As businesses and consumers become more dependent on the Internet for information, websites have likewise become valuable sources of game-changing data.
To put that number in its proper context, there are 7.6 billion people on this planet. 50% of the world’s population is on the Internet on a daily basis!
Therefore, it should not be a surprise that more websites are coming up.
Currently, there are 1.8 billion websites on the Internet. Every second, a new website goes live and offers consumers another source of information.
These websites are a virtual treasure trove of information. They contain data on consumer behaviour, spending patterns, demographics, sales figures, revenue targets and industry trends.
These are the types of information that can grow businesses and make them more competitive in the industry.
That is why the age of the Internet is the era of Big Data.
With the large volume of information out there, companies are spending resources on web data extraction processes that are active, accurate and consistent.
You want to make sure you are getting only relevant and usable information from the best and most reliable websites.
What Is Web Data Extraction?
Web data extraction is simply the process of collecting large volumes of data from websites on the Internet.
The process is alternatively referred to as “Web Scraping”, “Web Harvesting” or “Data Mining”.
If you were engaged in the property business, imagine the volume and type of information available in real estate portals, social media networks, and property management sites.
You can use these types of information for market research, updating buyer personas, and property listings.
Some websites have an API or Application Programming Interface to make it easier to access business or product information. However, most of the time, the API is not reliable.
You can probably resort to old- school methods such as to copy and paste information from a website and unto a file, but that approach is too time- consuming and inefficient.
Of course, you might encounter websites with restrictions on copy and paste.
Web data extraction uses automated processes that are faster, more efficient, and accurate because these systems interact with websites like a web browser.
In addition, all data extracted are stored and organized properly for easy retrieval and analysis.
What Are The Benefits Of Web Data Extraction?
In the early days, gathering data from the Internet was performed by software developers who used a program called “Wrapper”.
This process had two drawbacks. First, you had to be a software developer to run the program.
Second, you need a different Wrapper for every website that you planned to extract data from.
The web data extraction programs used today are more powerful, efficient and easier to use.
You don’t have to be a software developer to run them. Thus, more enterprises are utilizing web data extraction programs to take their business to the next level.
In addition to its simplicity and ease of use, there are other benefits of using web data extraction programs for your enterprise:
- Automated web data extraction programs are much more efficient than manual or traditional data gathering methods.
- Provides accurate data which you can use to conceptualize business development strategies.
- Cost effective; you can download free web data extraction programs or pay a minimum, affordable monthly fee for a program with more advanced features.
It is not enough to simply extract data. You must be able to organize the data systematically so you can accurately derive the possible outcomes.
7 Ways Enterprises Can Use Web Data Extraction To Their Advantage
If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you must be regularly updated of changes in trends, demand preferences, and the latest industry developments.
This is why businesses invest in research and development programs with web data extraction at its forefront.
Here are 7 ways enterprises can use web data extraction to their advantage:
- Gather Pricing Data
In a tightly competitive market, pricing will always be a major consideration for consumers.
Businesses must stay on top of competitors’ pricing in order to remain attractive and to come up with strategies that can negate advantages.
A good example would be the data extraction processes used by E-Commerce sites.
They use web crawlers that have been designed to extract data such as pricing, quantity and product identification to name a few.
Once the data has been collected, it is organized into a system which analyzes the competitors’ pricing strategy and makes recommendations on pricing changes.
- Catalogue New Product Listings
Product differentiation is another key component in business development. Consumers’ tastes and preferences change over time.
It’s great to have core items, but you can’t offer the same products month-in and month-out.
You have to introduce new products and services in order to generate new customers while keeping your current clientele interested.
Many businesses use web data extraction processes to find new product categories in their industry.
They can use the data to determine if their enterprise can compete in the niche or if they need to update their current catalogue in terms of content.
- Conduct Comprehensive Market Research
If you want to do accurate market research, you have to go through comprehensive data.
Good research is all about having quality data in high quantities.
Web data extraction is the fastest way to search and gather information that is relevant to your enterprise.
This is why many traditional brick- and- mortar enterprises have likewise ventured into Internet-based businesses.
Research can be a game-changer in business.
If you can anticipate changes in your market, you will be able to develop and implement strategies that can accommodate shifts in demand before they happen.
- Extract User Generated Content
Social proof refers to how consumers are influenced by the opinions of other consumers.
Think of how your decision to opt for a brand of smartphone was influenced by a product review, case study or testimony.
Social proof is an overlooked but effective way of uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor.
Web data extraction can provide information on your competitors’ weak points by searching for negative or unfavourable User-Generated Content (UGC). You will find out their product flaws, common complaints, and deficiencies in customer service.
You can use the information to improve your product or service and to fine-tune target marketing strategies.
- Comparative Advantage Analysis
Strategies that focus on comparative advantage essentially involve spying on your competitors.
A good example would be a retailer that sends an employee to work for another competitor.
The employee would pass different types of sensitive information about the competition to his/her principal employer.
Web data extraction processes use crawlers to index and catalogue the different strategies, activities and promotions of the competition.
There are programs where crawling is done in real time and gives businesses lead time to formulate counter-measures and changes in their own development plans.
- Staying Updated On Industry Developments
If your business depends on real time news and breaking developments, there are web data extraction programs that can help you retrieve trending information.
Examples of businesses that need these types of data include media news sites, stock brokerages, banks and real estate agencies.
Being first to report developments is important for the success of news agencies.
Meanwhile, businesses that manage investments rely on updated information to prepare fundamental market reports and analysis.
- Monitor Brand Reputation
The Internet has shifted the balance of power to the hands of the consumer.
Not only can the consumer access information on different types and brands of products, but he/she has many online platforms to voice out their opinions, reviews, and comments.
One bad experience with a product or service can lead to a post that could go viral and turn the fortunes of an enterprise overnight.
Businesses use web data extraction to monitor their brand reputation online.
The crawlers search for reviews on their products or services on online chat forums, social media and other websites that may have social mentions on the business and its brand.
If you are involved in retail and businesses that are service-oriented, these types of data will be a huge advantage for your enterprise.
While the Internet has opened new avenues for revenue growth, it has also tightened the playing field among businesses.
You need to stay ahead of the competition by consistently keeping yourself updated on trends and key developments in your industry.
Web data extraction makes it easier and convenient for enterprises to gather the information they need to build their businesses.
Advances in digital technology have introduced highly-efficient, automated web data extraction processes that will save you time and money in your research efforts. In addition, there are data extraction programs that can meet your specific business needs.
Regardless of your business or type of business, there is a web data extraction process that you can help your enterprise generate consistent revenues and sustainable income in the long-term.