Businesses need reliable, up-to-date information for every operation, from talent acquisition to audience targeting. Data has become an invaluable asset in recent years – so much so that many businesses are increasingly collecting information only to sell it as a commodity. 

Luckily for them, today’s well of information is bottomless. Humankind creates roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, more than enough to make manual data collection impossible. 

That’s the first issue web scrapers help solve – they extract a lot of information quickly. 

Web scraping, also called web extraction, is a natural byproduct of Big Data’s rapid expansion. Let’s see what it entails, how it is performed, and what other issues it can solve. 

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What are web scraping and scrapers?

Web scraping is a practice that allows you to collect vast amounts of information from the internet very fast. To scrape the internet, you need a specialized tool – a web scraper. A web scraper works with a web crawler to fetch information from websites.

Though it relies on complex coding, the process is easy to understand.

First, a crawler crawls the web to find the information its user wants to collect. Then, a scraper scrapes this information from the website and makes it readable for the user. Finally, the user gets a spreadsheet, API, or JSON file. 

There are many ways to scrape the internet and just as many types of web scrapers

Though you can do web scraping manually, virtually all business applications require the speed and efficiency of automation. Web scrapers are a logical solution for that. After all, they are faster than humans. Depending on the scope of the project, you can accelerate your scraper.

The many benefits of web scraping 

The main benefits of web scraping are evident from the information above: speed and scale. A web scraper can browse hundreds of pages in hours, greatly transpassing human limits. However, there’s more.

When you put critical aspects of your day-to-day business operations on steroids, you can expect them to cost less. Instead of putting another team on payroll, you can hire one programmer to write you a piece of code that you’ll be able to use for a long time with minor changes or adjustments. 

That brings us to versatility. The scripts or algorithms behind web scrapers are open-ended, meaning that you can use the same scraper for multiple projects or have it repeat the same task daily.

There are many other benefits of using a web scraper, but they all stem from these main four. Together, they create an automated process powerful enough to solve more than a few common issues. 

This Oxylabs piece provides more information as to what a web scraper is.

The problems a web scraper helps solve

Price monitoring, lead generation, and market research are the frequently cited reasons for employing a web scraper. However, these are more potential applications than problems many businesses face, like human error, poor efficiency, or blind guessing. 

Human error

Human error costs businesses a lot of resources, and data scraping is an incredibly monotonous task. Sooner or later, a human is bound to make a mistake. Discrepancies can cause hiccups in processes across different departments, but they are especially dangerous for sales and finance. 

Web scrapers are bots, which makes them as accurate as you program them. 

A flawlessly coded web scraper can scrape yottabytes of information and never make a mistake. The fact that they are robots makes them highly reliable. Whether you’re using online data for pricing, sales leads, marketing, or something else, your data must be clean, readable, and accurate. 

Poor efficiency

Poor time management, poorly managed business processes, and a complete lack of automation can break or dramatically decrease your chances of success. It can lead to many lost opportunities, not to mention total burnout. Why should your employees do something that a machine can do?

Web scrapers can seamlessly communicate with your databases, BPA software, or marketing tools. For example, it can feed the addresses of potential customers to your email automation tool. You only need to set the format of the output dataset and integrate the tools you want.

Think about the time and money you can save by automating this part of the process. 

Blind guessing

The list of possible applications for a web scraper is virtually endless. Every aspect of business that requires a data-based approach to decision-making can immensely benefit from the accurate and timely information web scrapers collect. That helps eliminate guesswork from planning.

Some of these applications include:

  • Market research
  • Competition tracking
  • Price monitoring
  • Equity and financial research
  • Brand reputation management
  • Social media management
  • SEO enhancement 
  • Lead generation 
  • Targeted ads
  • Talent acquisition 

A web scraper can help you get actionable insight before your competitors and stay ahead of the curve regarding consumer demand, market trends, and future predictions. It can tell you more about your target audience, help you discover leads or investment opportunities, and more. 


Even though web scraping is primarily a business practice, a growing number of individuals are using web scrapers mainly for research-related purposes. Whether you consider using it as a business growth hack or for private matters, web scraping options are just as vast and diverse as data sources.

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