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What Is Data Scraping And How Can You Use It? – Target …
What Is Data Scraping? Data scraping, also known as web scraping, is the process of importing information from a website into a spreadsheet or local file saved on your computer. It’s one of the most efficient ways to get data from the web, and in some cases to channel that data to another website. Popular uses of data scraping include:Research for web content/business intelligencePricing for travel booker sites/price comparison sitesFinding sales leads/conducting market research by crawling public data sources (e. g. Yell and Twitter)Sending product data from an e-commerce site to another online vendor (e. Google Shopping)And that list’s just scratching the surface. Data scraping has a vast number of applications – it’s useful in just about any case where data needs to be moved from one place to basics of data scraping are relatively easy to master. Let’s go through how to set up a simple data scraping action using Scraping with dynamic web queries in Microsoft ExcelSetting up a dynamic web query in Microsoft Excel is an easy, versatile data scraping method that enables you to set up a data feed from an external website (or multiple websites) into a this excellent tutorial video to learn how to import data from the web to Excel – or, if you prefer, use the written instructions below:Open a new workbook in ExcelClick the cell you want to import data intoClick the ‘Data’ tabClick ‘Get external data’Click the ‘From web’ symbolNote the little yellow arrows that appear to the top-left of web page and alongside certain contentPaste the URL of the web page you want to import data from into the address bar (we recommend choosing a site where data is shown in tables)Click ‘Go’Click the yellow arrow next to the data you wish to importClick ‘Import’An ‘Import data’ dialogue box pops upClick ‘OK’ (or change the cell selection, if you like)If you’ve followed these steps, you should now be able to see the data from the website set out in your great thing about dynamic web queries is that they don’t just import data into your spreadsheet as a one-off operation – they feed it in, meaning the spreadsheet is regularly updated with the latest version of the data, as it appears on the source website. That’s why we call them configure how regularly your dynamic web query updates the data it imports, go to ‘Data’, then ‘Properties’, then select a frequency (“Refresh every X minutes”). Automated data scraping with toolsGetting to grips with using dynamic web queries in Excel is a useful way to gain an understanding of data scraping. However, if you intend to use data regularly scraping in your work, you may find a dedicated data scraping tool more are our thoughts on a few of the most popular data scraping tools on the market:Data Scraper (Chrome plugin)Data Scraper slots straight into your Chrome browser extensions, allowing you to choose from a range of ready-made data scraping “recipes” to extract data from whichever web page is loaded in your tool works especially well with popular data scraping sources like Twitter and Wikipedia, as the plugin includes a greater variety of recipe options for such tried Data Scraper out by mining a Twitter hashtag, “#jourorequest”, for PR opportunities, using one of the tool’s public recipes. Here’s a flavour of the data we got back:As you can see, the tool has provided a table with the username of every account which had posted recently on the hashtag, plus their tweet and its URLHaving this data in this format would be more useful to a PR rep than simply seeing the data in Twitter’s browser view for a number of reasons: It could be used to help create a database of press contactsYou could keep referring back to this list and easily find what you’re looking for, whereas Twitter continuously updatesThe list is sortable and editableIt gives you ownership of the data – which could be taken offline or changed at any momentWe’re impressed with Data Scraper, even though its public recipes are sometimes slightly rough-around-the-edges. Try installing the free version on Chrome, and have a play around with extracting data. Be sure to watch the intro movie they provide to get an idea of how the tool works and some simple ways to extract the data you want. WebHarvyWebHarvy is a point-and-click data scraper with a free trial version. Its biggest selling point is its flexibility – you can use the tool’s in-built web browser to navigate to the data you would like to import, and can then create your own mining specifications to extract exactly what you need from the source is a feature-rich data mining tool suite that does much of the hard work for you. Has some interesting features, including “What’s changed? ” reports that can notify you of updates to specified websites – ideal for in-depth competitor are marketers using data scraping? As you will have gathered by this point, data scraping can come in handy just about anywhere where information is used. Here are some key examples of how the technology is being used by marketers:Gathering disparate dataOne of the great advantages of data scraping, says Marcin Rosinski, CEO of FeedOptimise, is that it can help you gather different data into one place. “Crawling allows us to take unstructured, scattered data from multiple sources and collect it in one place and make it structured, ” says Marcin. “If you have multiple websites controlled by different entities, you can combine it all into one feed. “The spectrum of use cases for this is infinite. ”FeedOptimise offers a wide variety of data scraping and data feed services, which you can find out about at their website. Expediting researchThe simplest use for data scraping is retrieving data from a single source. If there’s a web page that contains lots of data that could be useful to you, the easiest way to get that information onto your computer in an orderly format will probably be data finding a list of useful contacts on Twitter, and import the data using data scraping. This will give you a taste of how the process can fit into your everyday work. Outputting an XML feed to third party sitesFeeding product data from your site to Google Shopping and other third party sellers is a key application of data scraping for e-commerce. It allows you to automate the potentially laborious process of updating your product details – which is crucial if your stock changes often. “Data scraping can output your XML feed for Google Shopping, ” says Target Internet’s Marketing Director, Ciaran Rogers. “ I have worked with a number of online retailers retailer who were continually adding new SKU’s to their site as products came into stock. If your E-commerce solution doesn’t output a suitable XML feed that you can hook up to your Google Merchant Centre so you can advertise your best products that can be an issue. Often your latest products are potentially the best sellers, so you want to get them advertised as soon as they go live. I’ve used data scraping to produce up-to-date listings to feed into Google Merchant Centre. It’s a great solution, and actually, there is so much you can do with the data once you have it. Using the feed, you can tag the best converting products on a daily basis so you can share that information with Google Adwords and ensure you bid more competitively on those products. Once you set it up its all quite automated. The flexibility a good feed you have control of in this way is great, and it can lead to some very definite improvements in those campaigns which clients love. ”It’s possible to set up a simple data feed into Google Merchant Centre for yourself. Here’s how it’s done:How to set up a data feed to Google Merchant CentreUsing one of the techniques or tools described previously, create a file that uses a dynamic website query to import the details of products listed on your site. This file should automatically update at regular details should be set out as specified this file to a password-protected URLGo to Google Merchant Centre and log in (make sure your Merchant Centre account is properly set up first)Go to ProductsClick the plus buttonEnter your target country and create a feed nameSelect the ‘scheduled fetch’ optionAdd the URL of your product data file, along with the username and password required to access itSelect the fetch frequency that best matches your product upload scheduleClick SaveYour product data should now be available in Google Merchant Centre. Just make sure you Click on the ‘Diagnostics’ tab to check it’s status and ensure it’s all working dark side of data scrapingThere are many positive uses for data scraping, but it does get abused by a small minority most prevalent misuse of data scraping is email harvesting – the scraping of data from websites, social media and directories to uncover people’s email addresses, which are then sold on to spammers or scammers. In some jurisdictions, using automated means like data scraping to harvest email addresses with commercial intent is illegal, and it is almost universally considered bad marketing web users have adopted techniques to help reduce the risk of email harvesters getting hold of their email address, including:Address munging: changing the format of your email address when posting it publicly, e. typing ‘patrick[at]’ instead of ‘’. This is an easy but slightly unreliable approach to protecting your email address on social media – some harvesters will search for various munged combinations as well as emails in a normal format, so it’s not entirely ntact forms: using a contact form instead of posting your email address(es) on your if your email address is presented in image form on your website, it will be beyond the technological reach of most people involved in email Data Scraping FutureWhether or not you intend to use data scraping in your work, it’s advisable to educate yourself on the subject, as it is likely to become even more important in the next few are now data scraping AI on the market that can use machine learning to keep on getting better at recognising inputs which only humans have traditionally been able to interpret – like improvements in data scraping from images and videos will have far-reaching consequences for digital marketers. As image scraping becomes more in-depth, we’ll be able to know far more about online images before we’ve seen them ourselves – and this, like text-based data scraping, will help us do lots of things there’s the biggest data scraper of all – Google. The whole experience of web search is going to be transformed when Google can accurately infer as much from an image as it can from a page of copy – and that goes double from a digital marketing you’re in any doubt over whether this can happen in the near future, try out Google’s image interpretation API, Cloud Vision, and let us know what you think. get your free membership now – absolutely no credit card requiredThe Digital Marketing ToolkitExclusive live video learning sessionsComplete library of The Digital Marketing PodcastThe digital skills benchmarking toolsFree online training courses FREE MEMBERSHIP
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Web Scraping 101: 10 Myths that Everyone Should Know | Octoparse
1. Web Scraping is illegal
Many people have false impressions about web scraping. It is because there are people don’t respect the great work on the internet and use it by stealing the content. Web scraping isn’t illegal by itself, yet the problem comes when people use it without the site owner’s permission and disregard of the ToS (Terms of Service). According to the report, 2% of online revenues can be lost due to the misuse of content through web scraping. Even though web scraping doesn’t have a clear law and terms to address its application, it’s encompassed with legal regulations. For example:
Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
Violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
Trespass to Chattel
Copy right infringement
Breach of contract
Photo by Amel Majanovic on Unsplash
2. Web scraping and web crawling are the same
Web scraping involves specific data extraction on a targeted webpage, for instance, extract data about sales leads, real estate listing and product pricing. In contrast, web crawling is what search engines do. It scans and indexes the whole website along with its internal links. “Crawler” navigates through the web pages without a specific goal.
3. You can scrape any website
It is often the case that people ask for scraping things like email addresses, Facebook posts, or LinkedIn information. According to an article titled “Is web crawling legal? ” it is important to note the rules before conduct web scraping:
Private data that requires username and passcodes can not be scrapped.
Compliance with the ToS (Terms of Service) which explicitly prohibits the action of web scraping.
Don’t copy data that is copyrighted.
One person can be prosecuted under several laws. For example, one scraped some confidential information and sold it to a third party disregarding the desist letter sent by the site owner. This person can be prosecuted under the law of Trespass to Chattel, Violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and Misappropriation.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t scrape social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. They are friendly to scraping services that follow the provisions of the file. For Facebook, you need to get its written permission before conducting the behavior of automated data collection.
4. You need to know how to code
A web scraping tool (data extraction tool) is very useful regarding non-tech professionals like marketers, statisticians, financial consultant, bitcoin investors, researchers, journalists, etc. Octoparse launched a one of a kind feature – web scraping templates that are preformatted scrapers that cover over 14 categories on over 30 websites including Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Instagram and more. All you have to do is to enter the keywords/URLs at the parameter without any complex task configuration. Web scraping with Python is time-consuming. On the other side, a web scraping template is efficient and convenient to capture the data you need.
5. You can use scraped data for anything
It is perfectly legal if you scrape data from websites for public consumption and use it for analysis. However, it is not legal if you scrape confidential information for profit. For example, scraping private contact information without permission, and sell them to a 3rd party for profit is illegal. Besides, repackaging scraped content as your own without citing the source is not ethical as well. You should follow the idea of no spamming, no plagiarism, or any fraudulent use of data is prohibited according to the law.
Check Below Video: 10 Myths About Web Scraping!
6. A web scraper is versatile
Maybe you’ve experienced particular websites that change their layouts or structure once in a while. Don’t get frustrated when you come across such websites that your scraper fails to read for the second time. There are many reasons. It isn’t necessarily triggered by identifying you as a suspicious bot. It also may be caused by different geo-locations or machine access. In these cases, it is normal for a web scraper to fail to parse the website before we set the adjustment.
Read this article: How to Scrape Websites Without Being Blocked in 5 Mins?
7. You can scrape at a fast speed
You may have seen scraper ads saying how speedy their crawlers are. It does sound good as they tell you they can collect data in seconds. However, you are the lawbreaker who will be prosecuted if damages are caused. It is because a scalable data request at a fast speed will overload a web server which might lead to a server crash. In this case, the person is responsible for the damage under the law of “trespass to chattels” law (Dryer and Stockton 2013). If you are not sure whether the website is scrapable or not, please ask the web scraping service provider. Octoparse is a responsible web scraping service provider who places clients’ satisfaction in the first place. It is crucial for Octoparse to help our clients get the problem solved and to be successful.
8. API and Web scraping are the same
API is like a channel to send your data request to a web server and get desired data. API will return the data in JSON format over the HTTP protocol. For example, Facebook API, Twitter API, and Instagram API. However, it doesn’t mean you can get any data you ask for. Web scraping can visualize the process as it allows you to interact with the websites. Octoparse has web scraping templates. It is even more convenient for non-tech professionals to extract data by filling out the parameters with keywords/URLs.
9. The scraped data only works for our business after being cleaned and analyzed
Many data integration platforms can help visualize and analyze the data. In comparison, it looks like data scraping doesn’t have a direct impact on business decision making. Web scraping indeed extracts raw data of the webpage that needs to be processed to gain insights like sentiment analysis. However, some raw data can be extremely valuable in the hands of gold miners.
With Octoparse Google Search web scraping template to search for an organic search result, you can extract information including the titles and meta descriptions about your competitors to determine your SEO strategies; For retail industries, web scraping can be used to monitor product pricing and distributions. For example, Amazon may crawl Flipkart and Walmart under the “Electronic” catalog to assess the performance of electronic items.
10. Web scraping can only be used in business
Web scraping is widely used in various fields besides lead generation, price monitoring, price tracking, market analysis for business. Students can also leverage a Google scholar web scraping template to conduct paper research. Realtors are able to conduct housing research and predict the housing market. You will be able to find Youtube influencers or Twitter evangelists to promote your brand or your own news aggregation that covers the only topics you want by scraping news media and RSS feeds.
Dryer, A. J., and Stockton, J. 2013. “Internet ‘Data Scraping’: A Primer for Counseling Clients, ” New York Law Journal. Retrieved from
What Is Web Scraping And How Does It Work? | Zyte.com
In today’s competitive world everybody is looking for ways to innovate and make use of new technologies. Web scraping (also called web data extraction or data scraping) provides a solution for those who want to get access to structured web data in an automated fashion. Web scraping is useful if the public website you want to get data from doesn’t have an API, or it does but provides only limited access to the data.
In this article, we are going to shed some light on web scraping, here’s what you will learn:
What is web scraping? The basics of web scrapingWhat is the web scraping process? What is web scraping used for? The best resources to learn more about web scraping
What is web scraping?
Web scraping is the process of collecting structured web data in an automated fashion. It’s also called web data extraction. Some of the main use cases of web scraping include price monitoring, price intelligence, news monitoring, lead generation, and market research among many others.
In general, web data extraction is used by people and businesses who want to make use of the vast amount of publicly available web data to make smarter decisions.
If you’ve ever copy and pasted information from a website, you’ve performed the same function as any web scraper, only on a microscopic, manual scale. Unlike the mundane, mind-numbing process of manually extracting data, web scraping uses intelligent automation to retrieve hundreds, millions, or even billions of data points from the internet’s seemingly endless frontier.
Web scraping is popular
And it should not be surprising because web scraping provides something really valuable that nothing else can: it gives you structured web data from any public website.
More than a modern convenience, the true power of data web scraping lies in its ability to build and power some of the world’s most revolutionary business applications. ‘Transformative’ doesn’t even begin to describe the way some companies use web scraped data to enhance their operations, informing executive decisions all the way down to individual customer service experiences.
The basics of web scraping
It’s extremely simple, in truth, and works by way of two parts: a web crawler and a web scraper. The web crawler is the horse, and the scraper is the chariot. The crawler leads the scraper, as if by hand, through the internet, where it extracts the data requested. Learn the difference between web crawling & web scraping and how they work.
A web crawler, which we generally call a “spider, ” is an artificial intelligence that browses the internet to index and search for content by following links and exploring, like a person with too much time on their hands. In many projects, you first “crawl” the web or one specific website to discover URLs which then you pass on to your scraper.
A web scraper is a specialized tool designed to accurately and quickly extract data from a web page. Web scrapers vary widely in design and complexity, depending on the project. An important part of every scraper is the data locators (or selectors) that are used to find the data that you want to extract from the HTML file – usually, XPath, CSS selectors, regex, or a combination of them is applied.
The web data scraping process
If you do it yourself
This is what a general DIY web scraping process looks like:
Identify the target websiteCollect URLs of the pages where you want to extract data fromMake a request to these URLs to get the HTML of the pageUse locators to find the data in the HTMLSave the data in a JSON or CSV file or some other structured format
If you outsource it
1. Our team gathers your requirements regarding your project.
2. Our veteran team of web data scraping experts writes the scraper(s) and sets up the infrastructure to collect your data and structure it based on your requirements.
3. Finally, we deliver the data in your desired format and desired frequency.
Ultimately, the flexibility and scalability of web scraping ensure your project parameters, no matter how specific, can be met with ease. Fashion retailers inform their designers with upcoming trends based on web scraped insights, investors time their stock positions, and marketing teams overwhelm the competition with deep insights, all thanks to the burgeoning adoption of web scraping as an intrinsic part of everyday business.
What is web scraping used for?
In our experience, price intelligence is the biggest use case for web scraping. Extracting product and pricing information from e-commerce websites, then turning it into intelligence is an important part of modern e-commerce companies that want to make better pricing/marketing decisions based on data.
How web pricing data and price intelligence can be useful:
Dynamic pricingRevenue optimizationCompetitor monitoringProduct trend monitoringBrand and MAP compliance
Market research is critical – and should be driven by the most accurate information available. High quality, high volume, and highly insightful web scraped data of every shape and size is fueling market analysis and business intelligence across the globe.
Market trend analysisMarket pricingOptimizing point of entryResearch & developmentCompetitor monitoring
Alternative data for finance
Unearth alpha and radically create value with web data tailored specifically for investors. The decision-making process has never been as informed, nor data as insightful – and the world’s leading firms are increasingly consuming web scraped data, given its incredible strategic value.
Extracting Insights from SEC FilingsEstimating Company FundamentalsPublic Sentiment IntegrationsNews Monitoring
The digital transformation of real estate in the past twenty years threatens to disrupt traditional firms and create powerful new players in the industry. By incorporating web scraped product data into everyday business, agents and brokerages can protect against top-down online competition and make informed decisions within the market.
Appraising Property ValueMonitoring Vacancy RatesEstimating Rental YieldsUnderstanding Market Direction
News & content monitoring
Modern media can create outstanding value or an existential threat to your business – in a single news cycle. If you’re a company that depends on timely news analyses, or a company that frequently appears in the news, web scraping news data is the ultimate solution for monitoring, aggregating, and parsing the most critical stories from your industry.
Investment Decision MakingOnline Public Sentiment AnalysisCompetitor MonitoringPolitical CampaignsSentiment Analysis
Lead generation is a crucial marketing/sales activity for all businesses. In the 2020 Hubspot report, 61% of inbound marketers said generating traffic and leads was their number 1 challenge. Fortunately, web data extraction can be used to get access to structured lead lists from the web.
In today’s highly competitive market, it’s a top priority to protect your online reputation. Whether you sell your products online and have a strict pricing policy that you need to enforce or just want to know how people perceive your products online, brand monitoring with web scraping can give you this kind of information.
In some situations, it can be cumbersome to get access to your data. Maybe you need to extract data from a website that is your own or your partner’s in a structured way. But there’s no easy internal way to do it and it makes sense to create a scraper and simply grab that data. As opposed to trying to work your way through complicated internal systems.
Minimum advertised price (MAP) monitoring is the standard practice to make sure a brand’s online prices are aligned with their pricing policy. With tons of resellers and distributors, it’s impossible to monitor the prices manually. That’s why web scraping comes in handy because you can keep an eye on your products’ prices without lifting a finger.
Learn more about web scraping
Here at Zyte (formerly Scrapinghub), we have been in the web scraping industry for 12 years. With our data extraction services and automatic web scraper, Zyte Automatic Extraction, we have helped extract web data for more than 1, 000 clients ranging from Government agencies and Fortune 100 companies to early-stage startups and individuals. During this time we gained a tremendous amount of experience and expertise in web data extraction.
Here are some of our best resources if you want to deepen your web scraping knowledge:
What are the elements of a web scraping project? Web scraping toolsHow to architect a web scraping solutionIs web scraping legal? Web scraping best practices
Frequently Asked Questions about scrape data
Is it legal to scrape data?
It is perfectly legal if you scrape data from websites for public consumption and use it for analysis. However, it is not legal if you scrape confidential information for profit. For example, scraping private contact information without permission, and sell them to a 3rd party for profit is illegal.Aug 16, 2021
How is data scraping done?
The web data scraping process Collect URLs of the pages where you want to extract data from. Make a request to these URLs to get the HTML of the page. Use locators to find the data in the HTML. Save the data in a JSON or CSV file or some other structured format.
Why do people scrape data?
Web scraping can help you extract any kind of data that you want. … You would then be able to retrieve, analyze and use the data the way you want. So web scraping simplifies the process of extracting data, speeds it up by automating it and creates easy access to the scrapped data by providing it in a CSV format.