As business owners enter 2018, most are looking for new ways to turn a profit and keep their marketing strategies relevant. One way to do this is through web data extraction, commonly known as web scraping. Web scraping can be done manually (i.e. copying and pasting) or with automation software like Foxtrot by EnableSoft. At a high level, web scraping is the process of taking actionable data from anywhere on the internet and depositing it into a new home where it can be used to draw insights and make decisions. Whether the data is on the front-end of a website or in servers and queries on the back-end, the mining process is often a labor-intensive, time-consuming and repetitive one: perfect for the application of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software.

What Is Web Scraping?

Web scraping is the use of data mining techniques to discover and extract information from websites and servers.

There are three broad categories of information that can be found with web scraping.

  1. Web content – information from web pages and other documents.
  2. Web usage – information from server logs and browser activity tracking.
  3. Web structure – information from links between people, pages, and other data.

The internet is an enormous information highway. Prior to the web, finding information meant asking around or researching physical books or documents. Currently, when we need information about something, we can just open a browser and perform a web search. Now, we have robots finding the answers for us.

What Are the Benefits of Web Scraping?

Web scraping is critical for business because it can help fuel a sales engine. It can reveal previously unseen information about prospects and current customers, which can be leveraged to help reps meet leads where they are and on their own terms. Web scraping offers valuable intelligence for marketers on the web behavior of prospects. Marketing intelligence is integral to good sales and marketing practices.

Web scraping for marketing intelligence can reveal the following insights:

  • Pricing analysis
  • Business intelligence
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Events
  • Product data
  • Popularity
  • Reputation

How Automation Software Can Be Used In Web Scraping

Miners can use automation software, like Foxtrot, to implement web scraping techniques almost immediately. Foxtrot can be taught to look for specific data and extract in an intelligent way just like a human. What could take a team of people weeks to accomplish, can now be done in a few hours while ensuring 100% accuracy.

Web scraping isn’t the only thing you can automate with an RPA tool, either. Check out this blog on The 3 Biggest Problems with VBA Scripts and how RPA is helping solve that problem as well.

To start automating your business processes using Foxtrot RPA software, request a free trial today.

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