Social Media is a pool of data that can be utilised for several purposes including predicting upcoming trends, keeping track of audience interests and activity etc. This task can be automated efficiently using web scrapers to give structured data ready to be analysed.
Social media scraping tools go through sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. and other prominent blogs and wikis to collect the unstructured data on their websites at a single place in a structured format for the user. This social media data can then be analysed to help the business in multiple ways.
The Need for Social Media Scraping
Social media data acts as a vast reservoir of accurate representations of human behaviour and choices. Harnessing and analysis of this information provide companies with an opportunity to understand customer sentiments around ongoing trends, giving them a platform to stay up to date with dynamic market demands. This allows them to identify any upcoming trends in the market and adapt accordingly.
1. Tracking Market Trends
Every business needs to be updated with what the consumer needs and provide their services or products that could help them. Merely producing the same product for an extended period and not adapting to market changes will eventually bring down a business’s market standing.
With the help of social media and big data analytics, one can keep track of factors that could influence consumer demands on social media and prepare accordingly.
2. Consumer Feedback
Using the reviews and ratings given, one can analyse the market behaviour towards a product or service. Sentiment analysis and surveys on the obtained social media data could further help in gaining insight into any product in the market.
For, e.g., by scraping the reviews on e-commerce sites like Amazon or Myntra where the product is listed, one can get all the reviews and ratings at a single place. By mapping the scores into a graph, one can see the audience response and buy-rates over a certain period in a matter of minutes without doing anything manually.
3. Targeted branding and promotions
Not everyone is active on social media at all times. Students prefer to scroll through Facebook at night while a working adult is likely to visit his LinkedIn profile in the lunchtime. Thus it becomes crucial for the companies to broadcast their advertisements at an appropriate time to maximise the optimal audience reach and save additional advertisement money.
With the help of active hours data obtained from these sites, one can quickly come up with the most activity hour of a specific group of people or location. Companies can then choose to broadcast different ads at a different time in the day based on the audience most likely to be active during that time.
Apart from active hours, the search, view and likes history of the user can also be utilised to display the most likely to be clicked suggestions for the user. For, e.g., sites like Netflix and Spotify use recommender systems based on the previous view/listen and like data and use it to suggest the new movies/music of similar genre and those are most likely to be opened by the user again.
4. Keep up with your competition
Every company is involved with social media in some way. This results in them having their own social media data. One can easily extract this data from the internet using social media scraping tools and spy on their competitor’s activities. Analysing the data can also help in understanding the type of posts and social media that is working for your competitor, and you can incorporate that into your marketing strategy.
5. Understand audience response
Companies generally start a social media campaign for their new services and products. Keeping track of all the comments and views manually is impossible for big companies with huge followings. To help them view how the market is reacting, social media scraping tools can be used to extract the social media data of the campaign and form charts based on sentiment analysis of the comments. This means that you can see how the audience is reacting to your new product or service in graphical form without manually going through any troubles.
7 Social Media scraping tools
Data is needed by every business to make important decisions, but not everyone is capable of coding the web scrapers themselves and maintain it as the target sites keep getting updated. These businesses utilise the help of third-party social media scraping tools to obtain and maintain the data for them.
Datahut’s web scraping solutions aim to make web scraping painless, affordable and business friendly. It helps companies get structured data feeds from any website through its cloud-based data as a service platform (DaaS), with minimal involvement needed by the client. Datahut’s scraping solutions make the process of fetching data easy and straightforward. These include customizable plans, Ip rotation, Scheduling of scraping runs, high scalability, multiple storage formats etc. Priced at an affordable rate, starting at only $40/month, Datahut is your ideal social media scraping tool for growing your business and understanding consumer preferences
Octoparse needs no knowledge of programming. It has a point and clicks interface, making the web scraping as easy as it could possibly be. It offers features that help the user to deal with infinite scrolling, login authentication, text inputs and even drop down menu selections. It provides a paid plan that can create a scraper to extract data from dynamic websites in real-time.
Although it needs some programming knowledge, dexi.io is also a powerful tool that can scrape multiple web pages fast and efficiently. It allows third-party integration for captcha solving or cloud storage etc. With only a trial version available for free and a starting plan of $119/month, it is also one of the most expensive scraping tools available.
Mozenda is a scalable cloud-based web scraping platform. With billions of web pages already scraped, it is one of the biggest and oldest social media scraping tools available. It boasts of an impressive client list, including Tesla, CNN, Oracle, HSBC, Bank of America to name a few. It offers two types of services, a licensed software with the help of which one can extract and manage their data on their own and a managing service where the mozenda engineers will fetch the data and present it to you in a structured format, ready for analysis. It lies on the high-end spectrum of the social media scraping tools, with pricing starting at $250/month.
Scraping hub provides a advanced platforms for deploying web crawlers. It utilises four primary tools: Crawlera, Scrapy, Portia, Splash. Scrapinghub allows exporting the social media data in several formats. Each tool being provided is designed for performing a specific task. For, e.g. Crawlera helps in avoiding being blocked by websites and Portia helps is extracting data without coding. ScrapingHub does not offer a complete package; instead, each tool is charged for separately. It also enables to deploy multiple crawlers at a single time and provides smart downloader for bypass bot countermeasures.
Import.io provides an interactive user interface that allows the user to click the web elements whose information needs to be scraped. This, however, limits the web pages that could be scraped by its architecture. It is also one of the costliest service available in the market with the starting rates of $299/month.