There are many articles (from Forbes, HuffPost etc) talking about how marketing could use the help of big data. I won’t go into those areas - you've already read those posts, you know what’s up.

This post is here to tell you the role that web crawling plays in helping you get the data that you need for your marketing strategies.

What is Web Crawling?

Web crawling is a data retrieval process, practically serving as a search engine (but with no CSS embedded) for any data available on the web. Of course, all this information goes into databases and are indexed. Other data processing tools such as Tableau can be used to make the data more readable to us.

Web crawlers are a tool that promotes accuracy and efficiency in analyzing the market or consumer behavior.  All this research is vital for segmentation, targeting, and positioning (STP), an essential component of marketing strategy.  

Firms can find more precise trends in customer buying data by looking at customer activity on their pages, and some external data like location and age. In marketing segmentation terms, that’s the bases covered: geographic, demographic (age, gender), behavioral (frequency of buying, interest in various products), which gives some insight to the psychographic (attitudes, personality). Even technographic (mobile app usage, etc.) profiles are covered.

In conclusion, web crawling is the process of market research.

Web Crawling as A Potential Replacement for Market Research Methods

There is a massive amount of public data published, and if it is appropriately processed, it could offer insights. For example, if a marketing company wanted to know if the public liked eating croissants, they could retrieve the information from a web crawler. They would use a sentiment analyzer to categorize the data and then look at the overall results. The results derived from web crawling would be accurate since the sample of answers available is large enough.

To some extent, web crawling can also compete with the utility of primary research. Primary research is meant to help firms understand how others perceive their product. For example, if Grab wanted to know what people thought about the surge in prices, they would have to do primary research.

Currently, very primitive methods of primary research come from surveys and observations, which can give skewed data sets. As mentioned implied above, the data samples are smaller than that provided by the web, and therefore, are not as representative as compared to available web information.

Web crawling can retrieve publicly posted opinions about this, and these can (again) be run through a sentiment analyzer to extract the overall results. Naturally, companies with a more established brand presence would realize more insights with web crawling, since more people online talk about it.

Some information Proxycurl can retrieve include:

  1. Social media posts: Firms may process this crawled data through sentiment analyzers to extract sentiment about products, services, or the brand available online. Firms may also check on their competitors’ posts or research the given industry or market through others’ posts.
  2. Photos/Images: Firms can crawl for images tagged onto others’ posts. The images may also serve to provide additional information for the firm about their brand, service, or product. Firms can also view infographics or other marketing efforts done by competitors.
  3. Articles: When people post on review sites or write articles,  firms can have access to this, and glean sentiment from those pages.  These pages may also summarise and provide figures about the industry and market conditions, which may prove useful for research.

The moral of the story is this: with web crawling, marketers can retrieve the market research, and then respond to it accordingly.

The rest of the marketing process is back to the ol’ routine.

If you're interested to know more about Proxycurl, and what it can do for your business, check out our whitepaper.