The World Wide Web, as we now know it, started in 1989, but it was not until 1993 that men developed the first web scraper – The Wanderer.
The need for a web scraper arose when we discovered that the internet was filled with data, and this data could help influence everything from Government to Businesses and Organizations.
Two years before the web scraper was developed, web browsers were built and already in use. Yet, they could not help people get large amounts of data at once. There was a need for tools that could help index millions of web pages and websites, and The Wanderer and JumpStation (developed in the same 1993) were invented specifically to help in this regard.
Eventually, more tools would be developed as the internet expanded to include various search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and Google. The process of web scraping itself would be refined to include properly defined tools such as a web scraper API.
What is Web Scraping?
Web scraping can be viewed as the automated process used for collecting large amounts of information from different servers and websites on the internet.
It is generally used by individuals but, more especially, by businesses to collect relevant data that can be used in various areas of business.
For instance, data collected this way can create market insights and intelligence, monitor the brand, the market, and the competition, optimize prices, and even study market trends to influence production.
But what makes web scraping highly desirable is that it uses sophisticated tools to automate the process and hasten how data can be collected. So that the brand will be able to save time and energy during web scraping, but they can also collect high-quality data devoid of errors and mistakes in real-time.
Why Is Web Scraping Important?
There are several reasons why web scraping is important in the life of any brand, and below are the most common reasons:
- Price Comparison
In business, price affects everything, from how easily buyers patronize your brand to how much revenue you make at the end of the day.
Brands that are careless about prices can risk losing customers or profits depending on which extreme they set their prices.
To set the prices, businesses must consult high-quality and relevant data by comparing their prices with large e-Commerce platforms and other competitors.
Then adjust prices accordingly to balance how they attract customers and make profits.
- Brand Monitoring
Brand monitoring is often defined as the process used in observing a company and its assets across the internet.
This is important since the internet makes it easier for people to infringe on a company, steal its assets, or create counterfeits of its products and services.
All the above instances leave a bad representation of the business chasing their customers away.
Organizations, therefore, need to monitor their brand online by collecting all the relevant data that concern the business at all times.
- Market and Competition Monitoring
Monitoring the market and competition helps a company understand market trends and determine what their competitors are doing and how to outperform them.
And web scraping and its tools can regularly collect data about the important marketplaces and the competition to help you monitor them regularly.
- Lead Generation
Leads are potential customers collected from different parts of the internet that will eventually turn into paying customers.
The way businesses generate leads is to harvest data from the major e-Commerce websites and their competition. This data contains all the contact information of the potential buyers.
These leads can then be consciously nursed into becoming paying subscribers.
- Ad Verification
Another important application of web scraping is verifying ad campaigns from start to finish.
When ads are created and published, there is always the chance of having them running in the wrong format or placed on the wrong platforms. This means they will not yield the required results leading to a waste of company resources.
Ad verification is the process used to monitor ads to ensure they run correctly and on the intended platforms.
Various Developments That Web Scraping Has Gone Though In Recent Years
Web scraping has undergone various stages of development, starting as a simple and manual data extraction process and growing into the use of highly advanced tools such as a scraper API.
They focused on scraping the larger internet, thereby harvesting both the necessary and unnecessary data. They, therefore, took too much time and were much more expensive.
The most recent web scraping tools, such as scraper API, focus more on a direct approach. They can interact with the actual data source and collect specific datasets. This saves time, reduces the chances of having errors, and is often more affordable than the older methods. Check this Oxylabs page to learn more.
Web scraping has been around for some time now and seems to be getting more attention as it proves its importance in how businesses collect data.