Web scraping for market research

The fastest, most efficient, and unpredictable XXI century has brought massive changes to the business world. With the biggest technological leaps since the industrial revolution, IT, and the continuous development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), companies today have new tools for calculation, data storage, communication, and marketing.

In a market where everything is much faster, bigger, and easily accessible, for us humans, the natural biological tools can barely keep up with godlike technology in 2022. Sophisticated gadgets and automated software continue to expand the internet and encourage technological advancements, but the systems and digital bodies, created through the cooperation of our brightest minds, need the assistance of the same technologies to understand them and extract every drop of comfort and convenience.

Market research today depends on the technical proficiency of employees or business-minded individuals that can employ automated tools to extract public information on the web. Most successful companies focus on pre-built websites and their positions on search engines as the most valuable systems for client outreach and marketing.

In this article, our goal is to educate readers about market research on the web. We will address different approaches to researching competitors or other valuable targets and discuss the role of automated web scraping. For example, we can focus on the use of eBay stealth accounts and why companies need them to better understand the market. While most businesses see pages of similar retailers as valuable targets, with an eBay stealth account, you can get a thorough analysis of similar products, their pricing, and their sensitivity to their changes. For now, let’s discuss the importance of market research and techniques to approach it.

Why is web scraping so popular?

Most of the time, digital market research is based on snooping on what is on the other side of the fence and storing that information. Without powerful computers, the changes in business strategy and pricing were far less frequent, but keeping an eye on all competitors required the collective effort of assigned employees. Today, consumers look for most products on the internet, either by visiting websites of known brands or searching for desired goods on search engines.

Now we have more moving parts than ever before. Just like clients, competitors can go in and out of your website and extract presented information to get a better understanding of your strategy and how to counter it. With search engines as the main access point for online shops, companies have Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and their rankings as another block of parameters to look out for.

Even with a dedicated team of employees, keeping track of everything can be daunting. Thankfully, the advancements in IT that gave birth to the digital business environment also have the tools to manage and control massive amounts of data.

Web scraping uses automated bots to extract the HTML code in targeted pages and filter out the most important information. It can be new products added by the competitor or changes in pricing for similar goods.

Price sensitivity is a great example that encompasses the need for web scraping. Amazon, the biggest online retailer, changes its pricing approximately every 10 minutes, which amounts to more than 2 million price changes for all products a day. Businesses utilize price intelligence and gather data from competitors to undercut or make other favorable adjustments.

Automated data extraction helps us extract a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and filter out the most important bits that help us make precise decisions. One web scraper is much faster than a real user, and there are still opportunities for safe and effective scaling.

The difficulties of data extraction

In 2022, everyone is scraping, and no one wants their website to be scrapped. Not only can your competitor use multiple bots at the same time, scrapers also send much more connection requests that can crash the server.

As everyone continues extracting information, businesses set up barriers for bot detection to stop the negative effects of being scraped. When scrapping for market research, you will encounter numerous websites with different tools for bot detection.

Getting caught can bring you many hardships: the operation will abruptly stop, the IP address gets banned, and competitors can identify your identity behind it. That is why most modern companies find a proxy provider to protect their web scrapers. You can choose from premium proxies where everything is bigger and better, for a higher price, as their suppliers focus primarily on businesses, or find the most affordable residential proxy provider with a decent IP pool. Some bot detection systems can identify addresses from data centers and ToR (The Onion Router) exit nodes. Residential IPs provide the highest level of protection, which makes them a perfect choice for web scraping and research. Reach out to proxy service providers that suit your needs to start analyzing your market and its competitors.

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