Web scraping, also known as web data extraction or web harvesting, is the process of automatically collecting and extracting data from websites. It occurs using specialized software tools, such as web scraping frameworks or web scraping bots, which can automatically navigate to web pages, extract the relevant data, and save it in a structured format such as CSV or JSON.
What Industries Benefit From Web Scraping?
Web scraping is a method used by a wide range of individuals and organizations for various purposes. To remain competitive in today’s world, one has to utilize data in the most optimal way possible.
Web scraping is helpful in e-commerce to extract data from online retail websites, such as product information, prices, and availability. The details aid the following functions:
- Price comparison: Companies often gather prices from multiple online retail websites and compare them to find the best deals.
- Market research: Product information and sales data from online retail websites can help business owners track market trends and analyze consumer behavior.
- Inventory management: Extracting product information and availability from online retail websites will help businesses manage inventory levels and restock items as needed.
- Competitor analysis: Web scrapers extract data from competitor websites and analyze their products, prices, and marketing strategies.
- Product information: Extracting product descriptions and images from online retail websites will help one populate a catalog.
In finance, professionals often need to extract financial data from websites such as stock prices, market trends, and economic indicators.
Financial data is often time-sensitive, so it’s important to have a reliable and efficient way to collect it in real-time. The information can serve a variety of objectives, such as:
- Stock market analysis: Financers extract stock prices, trading volumes, and other financial data from websites, such as Yahoo Finance and Bloomberg, to track market trends and analyze the performance of individual stocks.
- Investment research: Extracting financial data from company websites, press releases, and SEC filings is helpful when conducting due diligence on companies and making informed investment decisions.
- Risk management: Financial data from news websites and social media can help one monitor for events that may impact the stock market and allow for early risk management.
- Algo trading: Extracting real-time stock prices from different exchanges is one way to develop high-frequency trading algorithms, which can execute trades in milliseconds.
- Market intelligence: Financial data from competitors, vendors, or suppliers is a good method to track market trends, benchmark performance, and identify new business opportunities.
In real estate, you can extract data, such as property listings, prices, and details, from websites. The information serves the following purposes:
- Property listings: Agents usually gather information about properties for sale or rent from websites such as Zillow and Realtor.com. They go for details such as the address, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, and price.
- Market research: Extracting real estate data from multiple websites can be helpful when tracking market trends such as median home prices, rental prices, and inventory levels in different areas.
- Property valuations: By scraping data from public records and real estate websites, real estate professionals can get a more accurate and up-to-date property valuation.
- Homeowner identification: When researchers scrape property data from public records, they can identify homeowners, their contact information, and other key attributes that are useful in the marketing and sales process.
- Investor analysis: Web scraping is a popular way to extract data on a specific set of properties and use it to find profitable investment opportunities. Real estate professionals can perform extractions based on prices, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and locations.
The above-listed industries are but a drop in the bucket. Web scraping can help business operations by allowing companies to extract valuable data from websites and use it to make informed decisions. If you’re new to the field, check out this guide for pulling data from websites. It’s extremely useful!
It is important to note that web scraping should occur ethically and responsibly. You should not use the scraped information in a way that harms the original website or its users. It’s vital to respect the legal guidelines around scraping. Additionally, you should ensure that the collected data is integrated into your organization’s systems and processes to provide accurate, timely, and valuable insights.