Technology has been driving changes in our economy for a long time, whether by creating room for new industries and niches through innovation or changing the landscape of existing ones to make them more efficient and profitable.
When we reached the digital age, things sped up drastically because innovations didn’t only happen on a physical level but also in software, information distribution, and gathering. We’re here to talk about web scraping and its role in the online business environment and the different web scraping tools you can use.
Web Scraping: Uses And Benefits
One of the primary uses for web scraping is gathering information about the competition. This can be a tedious process if you want to have a complete image of the competition you are facing. We use scraping to get data about the competition’s websites, social media, ads they put out to promote their products, and services while automating the entire process.
Being that the market is so dynamic now, retaining optimized prices can be tricky. You need to keep up with changes that sometimes occur daily, which, through scraping, will take only a fraction of your time than doing it manually.
Generating leads is a significant aspect of e-commerce, and buying lists is usually a dead end. The only way to get quality leads is to identify your target personas and reach out to these people on your own terms. Finding the right profiles to reach out to isn’t too difficult, but gathering all the relevant information can be tedious. Again, web scraping cuts down on the work you need to do by quite a bit.
These are the primary uses for web scraping, but they are the only ones, and this is due to the flexible nature of web scraping. The main benefit of using web scraping is conserving time and resources. It is a form of automation that brings the information-gathering capabilities of your organization to the next level.
List Of Different Web Scraping Tools
The function of these tools is more or less the same, but depending on what you intend to do, some might be more suitable for the task than others. There are three different types of tools:
- Installable software- As the name suggests, you’ll need to install this software before using it and set it up so that it does what you want it to do. This type is usually used for small to medium scraping projects.
- Cloud-based solutions- Considered to be the most robust of the three, they usually come with a subscription type payment system and can handle a lot of work all at once. This is because the work is processed on multiple machines simultaneously, and therefore, there is no lack of hardware resources.
- Browser extensions- Finally, if you are interested in scraping a couple of pages and your project’s scope is small, a browser extension scraper will get the job done without any issues.
Proxies VS. Scraping API
Now, some businesses use proxies to access websites and scrape all the data that an average user can see. The organization doing the scraping gets the bulk of the data and then analyses and uses it.
Usually, a scraping API is called a data collection tool specially built for data extraction from different sources.
Interested in this topic whether to choose proxies or scraping API for your business? We suggest you to read more information on Oxylabs website.
Choosing The Right Tools For Your Business
The best place to start when deciding which web scraping tool to use for your project is to look at the project itself. What kind of websites are you looking to scrape? What type of data are you looking to get from it? Are there any hurdles the tool needs to help you overcome? Are you looking for a specific file format that the data needs to be exported in? How big is this project of yours?
These questions will help you determine what features and capabilities your web scraping tool needs to have to manage this project efficiently. You can’t know what you need for a particular task without knowing what the task will be.
Another significant factor is pricing. If you are working on a budget, sometimes choosing a cheaper tool that you need to take extra steps to manage your scraping project is the way to go. They will certainly shave time off doing it manually, but you’ll have to manually manage them from website to website as they don’t allow fully automated scraping. By the same token, if you are aware of what you need to manage for your scraping project, you’ll be able to avoid overpaying for a complex tool that you won’t even use in full.
As you can see, there are many different tools for web scraping, and which one you go for should always depend on what you intend to do with them. We hope we managed to give you some useful tips on choosing the right ones.