The web scraping industry is penetrating every other industrial vertical. With the large volumes of data available for multiple purposes, this tool is gaining more popularity than ever before. It is only fair to know the economics of this industry. It will help you understand the dynamics of this tool, how it affects your business functions and what else it can be used for. We shall try to cover some of the economic aspects of web scraping in this article.
The Economy of Web Scraping
As you might have heard and read, data is growing in volume, variety, and velocity. An IBM report claims that around 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last three years. Where is all this data coming from? The variety in this massive amount of data comes from the different sources it is collected from, viz. transaction data from brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce sites, search engine and browsing history on the Web, social media posts and activities, pictures and videos posted on several online platforms, sensors used to gather climate information, cell phone GPS signals etc. With the growth of data, the web scraping industry is also multiplying in its application across industry verticals.
Overview of the Economics Behind the Scraping Industry
Web scraping has become an invaluable tool for gathering data and in turn, gaining a competitive edge with the help of business intelligence. It is a computer software technique of extracting information from the internet. Scraping transforms unstructured data on the web into structured data that can be stored and analyzed in a central database.
This not only helps companies assess their competition and understand their target market and improve customer satisfaction but also helps them boost their performance. Do you know how? Enterprises use big data, often extracted using web scraping, to ensure that they remain sustainable, maximize their business margins, and thus, provide momentum to their long-term operational strategy.
The annual report of web scraping economics in 2016 claimed that around 38% of the companies that engaged in web scraping, use the tool to obtain content for research, contact scraping, price comparison, weather data monitoring, and website change detection. Let us briefly look at the typical examples of use-cases under each of these applications:
- Content scraping: analyzing the prevalent content in the market to tweak ones’ own offerings, performing sentiment analysis on text data being shared by customers and other industry players etc.;
- Research: conducting detailed analysis for new product/ service introductions, gaining marketplace intelligence, designing informed customer strategies etc.;
- Contact scraping: acquiring contact details of existing and probable customers for marketing and lead-generation;
- Price comparison: comparing your own prices with the competitors’ price offerings and standard industry performance;
- Website change detection: detecting changing in features and designs of specific websites and notifying the relevant users about the same.
It is also reported that web-scraping is relatively a more cost-efficient mode of gathering information as compared to other methods.
In 2016, the web scraping services have a minimal cost of $3.33 per hour. An average web scraping project could cost around $135! That is a lot cheaper than buying data from relevant organizations. Furthermore, web scraping enables you to store information in whatever format you wish to see it in. That saves a lot of pre-processing time and effort that might be required on data gathered from other sources. The only caution you need to take is to ensure that you are abiding by all the rules laid by the website you are scraping data from. Datahut has also published a detailed article on the legal aspects of web scraping.
Some leading consumers of the Web Scraping industry
Web scraping trends show that the e-commerce industry is the biggest consumer of web-data, with a total market share of around 50%. Recruitment firms are also significant players in the web scraping industry. They scrape job listing portals across the globe to acquire information on thousands of jobs posted daily and even job applicants.
The real estate and travel industries are a close next as they see a high amount of bot activity scraping information for price comparisons. Several other industries like the research industry, the academia, real estate industry and even the technology industry use web scraping for several purposes and hence contribute to the growing popularity of web scraping as a tool. Let us now look at the use-cases for these leading players in the web scraping industry.
1. Web scraping in the E-commerce industry
Have you heard of the phrase ‘Knowledge is Power’? The retail and e-commerce industry takes it very seriously. All their marketing strategies, product and service offerings, sales campaigns and customer services are tailored according to the data available to them. The e-commerce industry uses data to analyze the trends and design their strategies around them. Where do they get most of this data from? The answer is scraping. Hence, it is not surprising that the e-commerce industry is one of the biggest consumers of the data extraction tool.
Are you in the e-commerce sector? Ever seen an online customer trend where the cart is abandoned after spending a considerable amount of time on the online shopping site? What do you think is happening there? The customer has purchased the items, observed the total cost, additional service and shipping charges, and has compared them to your competitors’ prices and perhaps found a better deal elsewhere! That is one lost customer for you and one extra conversion for your competitor! Scraping information from the web can help you fight this. You can use the tool to gain information on prices of similar products across the multiple platforms and sellers and find the best deal to offer to your customer. You can also optimize your shipping charges to satisfy your customer. Besides, pricing and marketing strategies data scraping can also help retailers predict upcoming market trends.
You can also combine scraping with Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to create a highly personalized product portfolio for your targeted customers. This can be used in industries like beauty and healthcare retail. Proven, for instance, is a beauty and skincare firm that scrapes reviews and comments posted by customers to create highly personalized products for them. With a vast database of 8 million reviews that is continuously updated, an array of ML algorithms, Proven has now come up with over 100,000 beauty products and 4,000 scientific articles about skin-care, ingredients for beauty regimes and beauty products that can cater to customers with varying ages, skin types, ethnicities and conditions like acne. They have the used this data to create an AI-powered recommendation engine for customers who can fill out a questionnaire and get the appropriate skin-care regime for themselves.
2. Web Scraping in the Travel Industry
The travel, tourism, and hospitality industries are one of the biggest consumers of data scraping, and in turn, data analytics. Many travel and hospitality (T&H) companies around the globe can use scraping to easily gather hotel reviews, prices and other significant information from multiple travel portals and then, build business intelligence using this data. This tool can hence, be of great importance for all operations and decision-making processes in the T&H companies.
While transport service providers like airlines and other travelling options aggregators scrape customer purchase and holiday trends to design marketing and pricing campaigns, firms in the hospitality department and hotels use this tool to gauge customer sentiments and improve the quality of their service.
3. Web Scraping in the Recruitment Industry
Have you not observed a sudden surge in the number of job openings and applicants in the recent past? One can safely claim that the recruitment industry is one of the most competitive and fastest growing sectors. It is also a significant player for the data-scraping industry. It consists of job boards, HR consultancies, and aggregators. One of the most critical roles and concerns of this industry is to connect the appropriate organizations and companies to the most suitable pool of job-seekers. To map the skillset and talent of each of these individuals to the job descriptions and requirements accurately, there is only one promising medium: Data!
Owing to the large volume of job offerings, the owners of job-sites obtain valuable insight about market trends and opportunities. Moreover, they can lure both job seekers and employers to explore their services. This massive participation will not only benefit the job platforms in terms of popularity but also get them a credible and influential audience eventually.
This is also one of the primary reason why many companies from the recruitment industry opt to crawl job listing websites across the globe. They aim to get specific, relevant and organic information. This approach of informative and intelligent crawling can result in an overall increase in revenue for the industry. Since the job market is only expected to grow in the near future along with the number of candidates, this trend of the recruitment industry using data scraping services is only expected to rise hereafter.
Datahut offers reliable web scraping services
As you see, all industries are incorporating web scraping into their operations. This is helping them gain a competitive advantage over the rest of the market. There are a lot of tools that can help you scrape data yourself. However, if you need professional assistance, companies like Datahut can help you. We have a well-structured and transparent process for the same. We have helped enterprises across various industrial verticals. From assistance to the recruitment industry to retail solutions, Datahut has designed sophisticated solutions for most of these use-cases.
You should join the bandwagon of using data-scraping in your operations before it is too late. It will help you boost the performance of your organization. Furthermore, it will help you derive insights that you might not know currently. This will enable well-informed decision-making in your business processes.
Wish to know how you too can incorporate Web Scraping into your business’s functioning? Contact Datahut, Your web scraping experts.