How is Data Scraping Used in Competitor Research?
The highly-competitive business industry requires companies to keep working and not settle for a second. But how to be successful even in such competitive and tough times? You can use the best strategies, have the best marketing and sales team, but still not be efficient enough.
One of the most important factors that will bring your company epic growth and will help stay on top of competition is a competitive analysis of the industry. It’s impossible to be successful if you don’t have insights into the competition.
There are many ways how you can use competitors’ information for stimulating your own growth. Your competitors have their products, services, strategies, prices, and marketing, and all of these can be quite beneficial to you.
Information is the most valuable intangible thing that can help you achieve immense growth and success. So why not to use it for the good? As Bill Gates once said, “The most meaningful way to differentiate your company from your competitors, the best way to put distance between you and the crowd is to do an outstanding job with information. How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.”
However, you need to know that there are some issues involved in the data collection process. Simply consider the amount of data available on the web and how fast this number is growing per second. It can be pretty time consuming to sit and gather all that data manually while making sure that the data collected is good quality and can be used. That’s where data scraping will help your business.
What is Web Scraping and Why Your Business Needs It
Web scraping is the process of extracting large amounts of data from web pages and saving the data for further personal use. The data extraction process is carried out through a special technique, where the person looks into the coding of the website and basically crawls all the information that’s visible on the page. Web scraping is an extremely useful thing for businesses.
There are many ways your organization can use web extraction for achieving its goals. This is especially true for competitor research and competitor analysis. There’s so much data available on the web about your competitors, which, if properly used, will help you overcome the competition and improve your place in the market. Of course, raw data itself has little benefits to offer you. But if you properly sort and arrange the information, you’ll be able to analyze it and create valuable conclusions based on the info.
In the rest of this article, we will go through the main areas of competitor research that should be implemented. We will discuss why exactly you want to scrape that data and the benefits it will carry to your business.
Audit Competitors’ Product/Service Line
You and your competitors will have similar products and services. But if you’re competing in the same industry with similar products, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get new insights from their product lines. There are no two companies that are exactly the same, even if they compete in the same industry and offer the same product or service. All businesses strive to show a special approach to their customers and differentiate their brand.
If you want to be competitive in the market, make sure to scrape competitor’s products on regular basis. This will be especially useful if you look into the companies that are ahead of you or are industry giants in general. You want to scrape their product lists to find out the best products and categories. Find out the benefits they offer, special features, and bundle offers. See which products perform better and analyze their features, color, and style. Try to find special trends for the products that perform great and the ones that are poorly performing.
This will help you discover the specific performance indicators to spot what people love and what they hate. When you find trends, you’ll then compare your products with the performance indicators to find out similarities and differences. All of this will give you insights to improve your product list.
Scrape Prices From Their Websites
After you scrape product lines, you should start looking at the prices. Website price scraping can help your company create a competitive pricing strategy. If you want to understand how to perform competitive analysis, you need to start from analyzing the industry prices. Price scraping will help you get insights into the industry pricing, understand the competition and gain an edge over them. But you have to conduct price scraping on regular basis, in order to be updated on the real-time product pricing.
When you optimize your pricing strategy you will have better sales and will win a competitive edge. However, in order to establish a profitable edge over the competition, you need to conduct price scraping on regular basis. Here are some benefits scraping your competitor’ prices on a regular basis can offer:
- Tracking competitors – most companies don’t do tracking on regular basis or even don’t track at all. If you do competitor price monitoring on regular basis, you’ll get ahead of the competition in no time.
- Real-time tracking – there are industries that use dynamic pricing, which means that they change their prices very often. Companies in such industries need to track prices on a daily basis and monitor prices in real-time, which can be achieved only with the help of price scraping.
- Understand price dynamics – get a basic understanding of how prices change over time for the products. Also, besides monitoring their price changes, you should also check how your competitors react to your prices.
You need to stay proactive regarding the price changes in the industry, in order to create a more effective pricing strategy and gain a competitive edge.
Study Their SEO Strategy
You can sit back and wonder why your competitors are ranking so well or you can start taking actions and steps toward understanding how they do it. The SEO strategy plays a crucial role in the success of any business’s online performance and ranking. In order to optimize your website, you need to uncover the methods your competitors use to improve their SEO. Use web scraping to audit competitors’ SEO strategy. Data crawl the popular keywords and landing pages to get insights into what keywords and links are actionable.
After you scrape all the data which will help you figure out what works well for your competitors, you can dig deeper to also find out what does not work. Look into the data to see what they are doing wrong and what keywords and links are not working properly. You will be able to build an SEO strategy that is competitive and effective, and which will get your website optimization to another level. This is how you learn from the competitor research and improve your own strategy.
Collect Their Social Media Postings
Social media is also a powerful source for competitive research. People love social media platforms and use them regularly. Customers engage with the brand with the help of platforms like Facebook or Twitter, in order to express their ideas and opinion regarding the company. That’s why most businesses use social media to connect to their customers.
You want to scrape your competitor’s social media posting to find out their social media strategy, how many times a week they post, their followers, and their top posts. You can scrape data regarding the performance of their postings to find out the best and worst post, and understand what’s working and what doesn’t.
Another benefit of scraping competitors’ social media is to look through the reviews and feedback left by clients on competitors’ social media. You will find out what your competitors are superior at and why people choose them and not you. This way, you’ll find out what exactly you should improve. Collecting such a big number of data manually is impossible, that’s why you need web scraping for collecting your competitor’s social media postings.
Gather Their Reviews and Comments
Reviews left to your competitors are a valuable piece of information for competitive research. The Internet offers many ways to customers to connect to the brand and leave a comment or feedback. As already discussed, social media is one of such platforms, however, there are others too. Web scrape website reviews, community forums and social media comments to see what your competitors’ customers think about their product. It’s a great way to work on your company’s strengths and weaknesses.
Find out what people love and hate in general, what are their main complaints and things that they appreciate. How people evaluate competitors’ product quality, service, the speed of delivery and is there something they dislike, such as damaged products or poor packaging.
While scraping reviews, you’ll also find dissatisfied customers with lots of complaints. This is a great way to track these unsatisfied customers and offer them a solution. Also, when a customer leaves a negative comment under one of your posts, make sure to offer them a solution and do this publicly.
Whatever they like, focus on these things in your business to deliver the best service. Yet, whatever they complain about, make sure not to have any issues regarding these areas of complaint. For example, if you see that people complain about poor packaging on your competitor’s website, pay attention to ensure high-quality packaging not to disappoint your clients.
Scrape Information About Their Funding
Funding is another important factor when analyzing the competition. Web scraping will help you understand if your competitors are profitable on their own merit or they’re using a funding capital that supports them. Scrape to see what type of funding they use, how they got it, how much they received and in which stage of funding they currently are.
Look for all the possible ways your competitors could receive funding: maybe they won a business grant or a business plan contest award. When you find out their funding means, you’ll also find new investors and pitch your own products, to get to the top of the competition.
Data scraping plays an important role in competitor research and analysis. You can’t go and manually collect such a huge amount of information from the web, that’s why you need to use web scraping to gather all the data. Before scraping, just make sure that the information on the website from which you want to scrape is publicly available. This is important, as only this way you’ll be able to scrape the data. Otherwise, scraping would be impossible or even illegal.