Virtually every digital business depends on data today. Every company needs accurate, relevant, and up-to-date intelligence to fuel marketing strategies and make informed decisions.
Data allows businesses to tap into competitors’ strategies and tactics, predict market changes, cope with current trends, and boost marketing strategies by tailoring campaigns according to consumers’ needs and preferences.
However, finding and gathering top-grade data has become challenging due to the incredible amounts of information available on the web.
Since the internet provides such an abundant source of information, companies face a new challenge – how to quickly and efficiently browse the web, identify trustworthy data sources, and extract data in a usable format for actionable insights.
Although the web is swarming with data, most of it is unstructured and, therefore, unusable. Thankfully, modern-day corporate internet users have numerous data extraction techniques, such as web and API scraping, for extracting, organizing, and formatting information from the web.
Here are the essentials of web scraping and scraper APIs, including their features and relevant use cases.
What is web scraping?
Web scraping is a data extraction technique that allows companies to target top-rated data sources and extract information relevant to their business goals.
You can use it to browse multiple industry-relevant websites, find associated web pages, and collect lead information, pricing strategies, product descriptions, contact lists, and other valuable insights.
There are several ways to conduct web scraping. Although it is possible to do it manually, it requires too much time and is prone to human error.
Automated scraping is a perfect option for launching large-scale data extraction operations using specialized scraper bots or programs such as cloud-based tools, downloadable software, and browser add-ons.
Cloud-based scrapers are the most effective and secure solution since they rely on third-party computing power and sophisticated features to get the job done.
What is a scraper API?
API is short for Application Programming Interface and is a specialized software that serves as a communication bridge between web apps. APIs are at the core of every modern-day website, routing communication between third-party users and web servers.
When a user sends a request to access a website, an API routes it to the matching server and sends back the information to the user’s device.
Scraper APIs can find, collect, and extract specific data sets. However, they can only perform a limited number of scraping queries.
Because of that, they are appropriate for extracting pieces of website code for web developers. While web scrapers fetch volatile data from multiple sources, APIs are a better solution for data extraction from specific single sources.
Core scraper API features
A scraper API can be a powerful tool in the right hands. It can browse the internet quickly, identify data sources, and turn unstructured, raw data into actionable business insights. APIs excel at locating relevant data on the web.
Scraper APIs offer customizable tools with high-end features for automating data scraping operations and extracting information from multiple targets. Here are some of the core API features for scraping.
Bypassing anti-blocking measures
Many websites don’t allow data extraction and will deploy various anti-scraping measures to prevent your scraper API from accessing data on web pages.
APIs can bypass these measures using an anti-blocking mechanism to mimic human behavior, allowing you to reach the target destination to grab the wanted information.
APIs don’t require writing complex code to operate. You can easily and quickly use them on multiple websites, as they don’t need any coding. In addition, they guarantee maximum uptime.
Format-specific data extraction
Scraper APIs allow you to specify data formats for extraction. You can target specific data sets and deploy an API to fetch accurate and up-to-date information.
In addition, an API can deliver scannable reports by exporting the extracted information in a specific format and organizing it in a spreadsheet.
APIs can extract data at incredible speeds without being detected or banned. They can expedite the scraping operation by using the power of automation to upgrade functions and target hundreds of web pages without alerting anti-scraping mechanisms.
Primary use cases of scraper APIs
APIs support numerous applications because they extract data from multiple web sources. Aside from accessing otherwise inaccessible sources, scraping APIs allow you to shift sources and switch from one database to another. That makes scraper APIs invaluable to businesses.
It can deliver information for diversifying business operations, grant access to social media interactions, and fuel data pipelines for conducting competitor and market research, tailoring marketing campaigns, and more.
Scraping APIs are ideal for improving SEO, identifying investment opportunities in global markets, and monitoring competitors, their products, and pricing strategies. They also help increase brand awareness and track industry-specific websites, such as realtor forums, travel aggregator sites, etc.
Scraper APIs are top-grade scraping solutions for extracting data from API-compatible web sources.
Since they don’t require coding, you can use them to target the most relevant data sources, collect information in the desired format, and organize it in spreadsheets to turn it into actionable insight without additional effort or investment.
APIs provide the speed, security, and versatility for collecting data and fueling your data pipelines with accurate, relevant, and actionable insights.
Andrej Fedek is a digital marketer. He recently started his own blog about digital marketing called InterCool Studio. His passion is to help startups grow and thrive in a competitive environment.