How Can Web Scraping Solve Business Problems?

In the Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven world, particularly in the business, the power of web extraction is noticeable. Various applications/software and AI-powered devices are already echoing, amplifying their significance via smart solutions.      

A computer scientist Bryan Shaw’s app called CRADLE can easily detect cancerous tumors in the eyes, which a paediatrician or a GP more often skips.  Another revolutionary app viz. Style My Hair by L’Oreal & ModiFace can adjust your look into a blonde at least in the live video, which you can undo if you don’t like. These apps are smart enough to act or respond that a pro would often ignore.

Have you ever thought about how do they get such power?

Certainly, there is no magic, but the AI that runs behind the scenes. With the help of web scraping techniques, data scientists and developers put data-based algorithms in place. It is what the machine learning signifies, creating a neural network to make a device or machine learn or understand a process.

Challenges in Web Scraping

The machines being trained could only work when the web scraping-driven data would be there. However, there are endless challenges that could interrupt this extraction process. The most prominent ones are these:

  • Data warehousing, which is closely linked with the large scale web extraction
  • Altering website structures as per web trends and user’s web experience
  • Anti-scraping practices, such as IP blocking
  • Hostile or Discriminant technologies, like Ajax and JavaScript, that interfere with hosts and crawlers
  • Website securing method called Honeypot traps, which trap cybercriminals or their malicious attempts modeled on gaining unauthorized access of a particular system/database
  • Quality of data, which can cause a serious trouble if you scrap faulty data or the information that does not live up to your criterion.

What is the use of web scraping?

  • Innovation processing:

Innovation is all about introducing changes to unlock value. A ton of opportunities will trail automatically. The scraping of data leads to modeling through various data mining techniques, such as regression, clustering, association, classification, outlier detection and predictions. The consequent models create intelligence that evolves breakthroughs.

This is how search engines, for example, spanned from WHOis to Google, Yahoo and Bing. This is what innovation is, i.e. bettering the way you do, you think.  

  • Creating a data repository:

The tsunami of digital transformation has thundered on. The UK’s largest business community, the Confederation of British Industry, has raised an alarm over the skill gap, which is hitting hard the IT, construction and hospitality sectors.

In order to tackle this situation, the scraped data could help in challenging the skill gaps. The extracted data in a data center skills report underscored these points:

  1. Deriving ways to recruit and retain the recruiters who know about the trending jobs
  2. Developing trending skills & strategizing the process

Likewise, data repositories could push the typical businesses in unusual ways that have a promise of lifting or improvement. This is where large scale data scraping comes into play.     

  • Generating leads:

Days are no more when copying and pasting of email ids were the dominant techniques of web scraping. With the advent of disruptive AI, machine learning and natural language processing, digital marketing leaders are prominently inclining to transformative tools, like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Facebook Insights and Google Analytics. Their search insights are good enough to create a list of leads.

Some of the most popular online tools for creating leads in different domains are:

  1. LinkedIn for tapping the professionals
  2. Google Analytics for catching business leads
  3. AngelList for filtering the topmost and scaling tech companies

The list will have hundreds of tools that emerge in supporting role for lead generation. Their APIs are intelligently developed to unlock such information that can feed their requirements accurately.  

  • Digital marketing

Since the day the digital marketing has stormed in, the businesses have started feeling the difference. Your competitor, let’s say, XYZ has around 10K followers on Instagram and 15K on Facebook. And, your brand has nearly 5K subscribers, but your product is far better than his product.

The web scraping can let you connect with a relatively large online community. You can extract the data of your competitor’s online community to pitch them with some lucrative offers. You can highlight some extraordinary benefits that stand you apart from the crowd.      

  • Introducing automation:

Shifting from being typical to being digital is a trend. However, the big wigs have sailed across the direst challenges to squarely transform their business processes.  Amazon, Wallmart and Netflix are the forerunners who scaled from brick-and-mortar premises to rule over the internet marketplace.

Netflix, for example, has been an American media-service provider. When founded in 1998, it was just a DVD rental store. Gradually, it embraced the digitization and stuck to web scraping of its over 23 million subscribers’ data (in 2011).

Now, it, together with Dark Horse Entertainment, is into making of interesting short films and series, which is contributing to its whopping earning worth $ 180 billion in June 2018.

  • Brand monitoring

Brand monitoring is consistently a growing domain. It is simply because customers are aware enough to check rating and reviews before investing in a brand. They prefer exploring the most sought after brand with a good track record in terms of customer satisfaction, which certainly symbolizes the one who deals on quality.

With scraping of the eMerchant’s data, you can easily learn the art of stealing customer’s heart.   

  • Market research and analysis

The research work is no more synonymous to door-to-door surveys and visiting libraries or news agencies. Just an online survey can help you to smartly collect data, wherein hides customer behavior, income, preferences and many other business-related aspects.

Let’s say, you want to know the big shots in the automobile industry in your local area. Just placing this query into Just Dial or any other business listing (directory) could do the scraping job for you. It will cater a list that you want to look up.   

  • Machine learning:

As aforementioned, the smart devices could be in the making only if they have relevant algorithms to run on a particular query. Google Home and Amazon’s Echo, for example, are the smart devices that are trained enough to obey what their masters say. At the backstage, the web scraping driven data is in the lead role, training algorithms to carry out their master’s queries.