The web is a potentially unlimited source of enterprise data, holding every possible type of data that a company could use. This is of great importance to businesses as having sufficient quantities of quality enterprise data is what enables successful operations, in turn, boosting organizational growth. Web scraping needs to be performed to obtain this data, which is done using human expertise and automation applied together.
The unstructured HTML data present on websites is obtained and converted to structured data to be stored in a database. This data can then be used by your company to perform its various operations. The data needs of different companies vary based on various factors, with industry type being a major one. Web scraping can, therefore, be implemented to suit your company’s particular needs.
This blog details various use cases of web scraping, showcasing the influence of the process at many levels. It also mentions the benefits of outsourcing the process to a dedicated website scraping services provider to overcome the drawbacks of in-house scraping like high costs and lack of required expertise.
The Varied Use Cases of Web Scraping
Here are the various use cases of website data scraping that help to add critical data to an enterprise’s repository.
Market Data Scraping
Reaching out to customers to generate leads is an arduous task that requires meticulous planning and execution to be successful. This task is much easier if you possess crucial background information about your target audience. Here’s where data scraping comes into the picture.
You gain relevant details about your potential customers that you can use to customize your messaging to a certain group or individuals. The most common source of target customer information is social media platforms, which work for both B2C and B2B situations. For B2B cases, additional sources like the target person’s company profile that’s on the company’s website and third-party sites with news about them can also provide good data about their preferences. The most common types of data that are scraped include purchase history, behavior, demographic, psycho-social, and average purchase power.
eCommerce Data Scraping
Having good insight into your target market’s needs helps to tailor your marketing campaigns and product lineup to better cater to their demands. This data can be obtained by scraping various sites, both eCommerce and others. You can also gain a good idea of what you’re up against if you use data scraping to learn about your eCommerce business’s competitors.
This is on top of gaining the ability to optimize internal operations to better suit consumer behavior, predict future market trends, and recognize the best practices followed by other players in the industry.
Considering the large number of websites that you’d have to go through, your in-house team may not be up to the task. Hiring an agency that can provide quality website data scraping services will make the task possible at every scale of operation.
Real Estate Data Scraping
Finding the right property deal can be difficult for property owners and real estate agents/agencies alike due to the constantly varying realty market across vast regions. But the job can be made easier by performing web data scraping. If you’re a real estate professional or agency, then data scraping helps by giving you the property information you need in your regions of operation.
These can include the general consumer preference of a given region, available sites and buildings in that area, and price points of various building types in different regions, among others. Scraping experts will look for a variety of property information across several sources like personal social media accounts, property sites, and even map applications. Relevant property data and the associated content information like images will be scraped and stored in your servers so that you can access it quickly and provide the right service.
Analytics Data Scraping
Data analytics could be considered to be one of the earliest processes that depended on data for its functioning. Thus, it’s no surprise that data scraping is at the core of this process. Every analytics company, or team within a company, deals with vast quantities of data, analyzing it after performing various data management processes on it. They may get part or the entirety of that data through web scraping. It helps broaden their data landscape, and by extension, the scope and value of the result that the analysis produces.
Sports Data Scraping
The sporting sector is increasingly turning to data to improve every aspect. The major one, is, of course, player performance. Monitoring devices are used to gain data about player performances by tracking multiple influential variables. This data is uploaded to a server to be analyzed and figure out how to improve their performance.
Some companies, like fantasy game operators and betting agencies, need this information to keep their games running. They can scrape as much of this data as possible from any available source to determine how to proceed with their operations.
Web scraping experts can also perform general data scraping to help team management obtain other data-rich aspects of their sport that are vital to team maintenance and improvement. These include viewership metrics, spectator draws to stadiums, logistics of players, their kits, and team staff, etc. Learning about these through the team’s internal database scraping and scraping from external sources makes the entire team’s/player’s game setup efficient and their strategy more effective.
Web scraping can be used to obtain crucial data about the opposing team rival team/player’s performance, opponents’ tactics, duration of practice, dietary criteria, etc. This can help devise an effective training method and in-game counter-strategy.
Since this industry has little connection to tech services, having an in-house team for data scraping can prove inefficient and costly. Instead, outsourcing it to a proficient data scraping services provider can be beneficial.
Healthcare Data Scraping
The healthcare industry is chock full of data; it is, in fact, the single biggest data generator and consumer annually worldwide when viewed on a per-industry basis. From health records to claims processing, everything about this industry is based on having accurate, timely data. Hence, data scraping fits very well here, helping to provide valuable data that a healthcare institution is dependent on by scraping various data sources related to the industry.
For instance, healthcare research centers can benefit from applying data scraping to gain valuable research data from past and recently published journals to aid their present and future research projects. Pharmaceutical companies can look at patient data obtained by scraping various sources to determine what new drug they could develop or how well their newly released drug is doing in terms of sales.
Medical insurance providers can scrape data about customers to learn about their medical history as much as possible to determine how best to insure them. Hospitals and clinics can use scraping for multiple functions, from hiring the right staff by learning about their professional history to gaining knowledge about the latest treatment options available that they could implement. It also helps them with compliance as regular scraping will keep healthcare institute administrators abreast with the latest in industry-related regulatory developments.
Legal Data Scraping
If yours is a legal business, then you should have an in-house data scraping team or should have the process outsourced to a capable web scraping company. This is because the data you gain from scraping is invaluable to your firm/practice. You can gain data about past cases that could be relevant to present ones, and have the relevant points listed for easy reference.
You can gain important information about the other side that could help make your client’s case against them stronger, such as if the opponent has a history of speeding in your client’s case against them for compensation for causing an accident. You can more easily keep track of changing laws and legal procedures by obtaining relevant data. Data scraping will help you move forward in your arguments easily with the clarity you gain by using that data.
The Problems of Performing Web Scraping In-house
It is standard practice for business executives to rely on their in-house employees to perform their firm’s various operations. After all, those employees will be familiar with operational parameters and cultures that are unique to that company. Since yours is not a data scraping company, with the process as one of its core operations, opting to perform any kind of scraping will not be conducive to efficient company operations.
Below are the adverse effects of choosing to perform data scraping in-house despite it being a peripheral operation for your company.
It Consumes a Lot of Money
A project as technically complex as web scraping will have many steps, each adding up to the total cost of the project. Performing such a task in-house means you’re bearing the full financial brunt, which won’t be cheap even on a small scale. There are the hiring costs that come with getting the right professionals for the job, and expertise doesn’t come at low prices. But compromising on that means an increased likelihood of poor project output.
Besides the costs related to the hiring, training, and salary payment of such expert professionals, you’ll have to bear the cost of their termination, and the losses that come with project slowdown as a result of that termination. Finding the right replacement will cause further delay and compound that slowdown, costing you further money. Then there’s the cost of related overheads like office space, furniture, etc.
You should also factor in the cost of tools used for the purpose, like crawler software. And then there’s the possibility of losses due to overstepping data privacy regulations and having to fight lawsuits and even compensate for any transgressions that may happen during scraping. And if the data you acquire is of little value for some reason, then that’s another blow to your ROI while trying to function as a self-sustaining scraping company.
Slow Turnaround Times
More often than not, companies try to make do with their employees by reorganizing their designated job requirements rather than hiring new people for peripheral tasks like data scraping. This tends to add professionals with limited experience and skill sets into such operations, which results in the slow progress of such tasks. Retraining them will take time, causing delays.
As mentioned in the previous point, delays in hiring the right persons for the task can also add to the slowdown of your data scraping operations. The result of such delays and lack of domain knowledge is slow turnaround times for your data scraping projects. This will affect your time-to-market factor as you won’t have the data you need for business intelligence at the opportune time.
Data privacy is being taken very seriously these days, especially by companies as enterprise data is a favorite target of cybercriminals. Hence, regulations regarding data security and privacy have also been stepped up and made more stringent, making data scraping that much harder.
If you rely on internal teams to do web data scraping instead of a dedicated data scraping services provider, then your employees better be aware of all applicable data regulations. Because, otherwise, you’ll cross a line you’re not supposed to and open yourself up to unwanted lawsuits and brand reputation degradation, besides the associated monetary losses.
Compromised Data Security and Privacy
Data scraping can hurt your company’s data security and privacy as well as your team may be incapable of detecting and handling it. This lets malicious data into your system, which can seriously compromise your firm’s data integrity.
The protection you have may not be sufficient; you may have to subscribe to a better tier of data protection software and also may have to increase your IT security team strength. You should also create robust troubleshooting and recovery plans in case a threat gets activated in your system.
Poor Scaling Ability
As mentioned earlier, adding new team members who can perform data scraping at the same level as experts at a web data scraping service-providing agency is an arduous process. This means that you won’t be able to scale your business easily either. Should you encounter a need to scrape more data than you’re managing at any given moment, then you’ll be left without any option but to delay it till you get the right person or take it slow.
Not Have Access to the Latest Tools
A tech-heavy process like data scraping relies on people having the right technological tools to give the desired outputs. However, unless you’re actively involved in the industry, you are likely not to know the various tools needed and available for scraping. This puts you on a backfoot compared to your competition because you’ll be working with outdated or inefficient means.
How Outsourcing Solves the Issues of In-house Data Scraping
Here are the benefits offered by outsourcing data extraction compared to getting the task of data scraping done in-house.
Process Cost Reduction
A dedicated web scraping services provider will have many people working for them, bringing down costs through economies of scale. Further, by onboarding an agency providing web scraping services in India, you also get the cost benefits that come with currency exchange values. Plus, you won’t have to worry about employee acquisition, training, termination, and management costs, along with the associated overheads. You won’t have to spend on the latest tools and equipment for the job either.
Quick Turnaround Times
The presence of a large pool of expert data scraping professionals at an external agency leads to many of them working on your data scraping project at once. This brings down your turnaround times, and by extension, your time to market.
You don’t have to face issues with scaling your data scraping process either if you outsource it. Again, when opting for data scraping services in India, the large pool of experts can absorb any amount of workload that may come their way. And they can do it instantaneously too.
Robust Data Security and Privacy Measures
Data scraping outsourcing companies work with many clients, making them obligated to all of their data protection. Hence, when you outsource your project to them, you get the necessary protection for your data that prevents the transfer of malware to your servers.
Their awareness of the industry’s data protection practices means they’ll always follow strict protocols for it. They’ll even have troubleshooting measures in place to prevent the worst effects of an attack should it happen to the data they store. The experts there will also know about potentially dangerous data sources and stop compromised data from entering their systems.
Full Regulatory Awareness and Compliance
Since an external web scraping company is constantly involved in the scraping process, the experts there will know about the various data privacy laws that apply. They’ll have the experience to avoid compliance compromises and know about workarounds to apply whenever such blockages threaten the progress of your project. Such compliance also means that you won’t be facing problems like lawsuits and associated monetary and brand value losses.
Access to the Latest Tools
The data scraping outsourcing company will use the latest technological tools for the job as they have to remain competitive in their market as well. This means your project will experience the benefits that those tools have to offer, which will keep your company on par with your competitors. As a bonus, you also get access to expert guidance on data scraping when you outsource your project.
Data scraping is no longer a resource-draining process for companies thanks to the expert web data scraping services provided by dedicated agencies. Your company will also get the many benefits on offer by outsourcing its scraping projects, leading you to take full advantage of the many web scraping services applicable to your company/industry vertical. It will unlock the full potential of your database and lead your company forward in a profitable direction.