If you’re a business owner running your organization over the internet, you know how important having access to accurate and relevant data is for your success and business growth. In the world of digital transformation and e-commerce, gathering data on consumers, markets, and competitors has become more of a necessity and a competitive advantage than an option.
There are many ways to extract valuable data from the internet, but two standard methods are the most prominent ones – we will talk more about proxies and what web scraping APIs is. Both are pretty effective when it comes to streamlining your data gathering process; however, there are some differences in how they allow you to collect data.
Both are unique technological solutions, each having its own pros and cons. Since it can be pretty hard to decide which one to choose, we’re going to mention the most important things about both solutions to help you make an informed decision.
Web Scraping as a Concept
In the age of the internet and digitalization, leveraging the power of data is the most effective way to get ahead of the competition curve. Data has become the new global currency, and there isn’t a single industry or business where having relevant information doesn’t matter one way or another.
The power of information is reshaping the world, and data has become a primary resource for beating your competitors. Modern businesses gather data for different purposes:
- Marketing and advertising;
- Increase sales and improve decision-making;
- Brand reputation and management;
- Better competitor and consumer analysis;
- Market research;
- Customer retention and lead generation;
- Price comparison;
- Strategic concerns;
- Improved SEO.
Why is Scraping Important in Business?
Web scraping is the most effective tool for data gathering in 2021. Data scraping has become essential to the big data industry, which is growing and expanding with each passing day. It provides countless organizations with a means of accessing precious and valuable information that can offer a wide range of benefits for business organizations.
From keeping an eye on competitors and price comparison to finding out what makes your consumer tick and contact information of potential target audience, a business can significantly benefit from web scraping and data gathering.
In its essence, web scraping is nothing more than a process of gathering information that is not copyrighted and is publicly available for your professional and personal uses. If your company needs data, you can acquire it by extracting it from one or more websites on the internet. The only way to do that without facing any risks or challenges is to use web scraping tools and techniques.
Many industries, such as IT, finances, travel, retail, advertising, and marketing, rely on web scraping to gather valuable data that will help them grow their operations. With that in mind, web scraping allows a business to reap the following benefits:
- Advanced data management
- Reduced workload
- Reliability and consistency
Different Approaches to Scraping
Both scraping API and proxies are excellent web scraping tools, but there are differences between the two. Cybersecurity experts have helpful information about the benefits of proxies. Check out their website https://smartproxy.com/ for more details. Anyway, proxies are intermediaries between the user and the internet. A proxy works by changing the user’s IP address and rerouting their online traffic in order to allow them to scrape websites and extract valuable data safely, without being detected or blocked.
Scraping APIs deliver the user’s requests to the provider and respond back to the user. A scraping API is an excellent scraping tool when the user needs to extract data from already targeted, more accessible sources than search engines and top-rated e-commerce websites.
If you choose to opt for proxies to take care of your data scraping, here are a couple of benefits you can expect to get:
- Bypassing blanket IP blocks and bans – the best and top-rated websites have various mechanisms to detect scraping bots, and these sites impose blocks and bans for blanket IP requests. Proxies can easily bypass those mechanisms and gain access to valuable data.
- Top consistency – proxies allow you to easily target multiple websites and send your requests without being banned or blocked.
- An easy way around geo-restrictions – one of the biggest advantages of using proxies for web scraping is their incredible ability to bypass geo-restrictions and unblock content in restricted locations. If your business needs product data and price comparisons from your competitors, proxies are the best solution.
- Reduced blocking and increased reliability – different target sites and web pages utilize different mechanisms for preventing web scraping and data extraction. However, proxies have a way around these mechanisms and allow you to crawl websites in a reliable and undetectable way to reduce any chances of getting banned or blocked.
Using a Web Scraper
Scraping APIs also pack a few benefits on their own:
- They allow access to the more popular public websites;
- They allow for easier targeting of top-rated websites;
- Scraping APIs are more suitable for accessing public websites that offer products;
- Accurate product and price comparison data;
- Scraping APIs are more cost-efficient than proxies, even though they are somewhat limited in what they can do;
- Many public websites have APIs, making scraping APIs the best data-collecting solution;
- If your target website has an API, you can extract data easily by simply customizing your web scraping tool to collect consistent data.
Choosing between proxies or a scraper API can be a tough choice; however, your decision solely depends on your available sources and business needs. For more prominent companies, proxies are the best and the most well-established solution.
On the other hand, smaller organizations will do much better if they choose a scraping API. Businesses that are short on resources needed for developing and maintaining a proxy infrastructure can save a lot by choosing scraping APIs.