Data is a prerequisite for a flourishing business, and if you want to go far in business, you need to make decisions backed with relevant user data.
Internet users across the world generate about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. And there are various ways that companies collect this data. While some go with the traditional method of web scraping using proxies, others are now choosing the path of web scraper APIs.
Both methods are distinct and offer varying advantages, however, they both work towards the same goal – making a large amount of data accessible and readily available for brands.
We will now consider what a scraper API is, how it works, the different types, as well as how they differ from proxies.
How Does A Web Scraper API Work?
A scraper API is a sophisticated tool specifically designed to help extract data from specified sources. Unlike proxies, these web scraping tools work with specific sources such as applications, operating systems, or browsers.
You may already know that the term API is an acronym that stands for Application Programming Interface and that it serves as a communication protocol. But instead of communicating with just about any system, a scraper API works with those that are designed to accommodate it.
For this reason, the data collected during web scraping with APIs are more specific and defined, and companies that use it do so to get exactly what they need. There is no need to extract a large amount of data before sorting them into what is important and what is not.
The way this works can be simplified as follows:
- You send out a request to a specific source
- The scraper API takes that request and uses its details to connect with the target system
- Then it scrapes data off that system and returns it to you to be processed and stored for immediate or later use
How Can A Web Scraper API Be Used?
The following are some of the ways scraper API can be used especially by small and medium-scale businesses:
For Collecting Specific Data
Scraper APIs are a huge deal for harvesting industry-specific data. For instance, you can easily use a scraping API to collect weather forecast data from a weather forecast company or real estate data from a real estate website.
The goal is to collect well-sorted data that can be immediately deployed for use.
For Market Research
A scraping API is also a crucial tool in conducting market research. They can be used to easily penetrate key marketplaces and other vital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Data can then be extracted to provide valuable insights into the customers and market conditions
For Price Monitoring and Comparison
Monitoring the price of goods and services is essential to determining whether a brand is overselling or underselling. And comparing prices with the rest of the competition also serves a similar purpose and helps the brand make proper sales and maximize profit.
Extracting pricing data can be achieved by linking the scraper API to the websites and servers. The tool collects current prices and watches for any future changes to automatically scrape those as well.
For Lead Generation
It is very important practice for today’s business to always look for new customers, and lead generation is used for doing this. Using scraper APIs for generating leads is even more recommendable as the leads are always specific.
Types of Scraper APIs
Scraping APIs are largely used by smaller enterprises that need to access a large amount of data but cannot afford an in-house scraper or to maintain a proxy infrastructure. These easy to use tools, therefore, offer them a way out – they get to enjoy the dividends of scraping the web but without the trouble of maintaining a proxy.
There are different types of scraping APIs depending on the industry your business belongs to and the type of data you need. For instance, while one brand may use the type of scraper APIs that scrape data directly from e-commerce websites such as Amazon, another may use a scraper API that interacts with social media platforms such as Facebook to harvest data from there.
Most types of scraper APIs are easily customizable and can be used to harvest an enormous amount of data from search engines and e-commerce websites regularly and automatically.
How Scraper APIs Are Different From Proxies
Scraper APIs are very different from proxies for several reasons, including the following:
- They do not need to be maintained by the brands
- They are more specific and only work with systems that allow for API connections
- Access is usually determined by the host and may be free or come with a small price
- Scraping APIs are more reliable and can collect data quickly because they connect more readily
- A Scraping API is less likely to get blocked as it does not need to get around any restrictions to connect with any system that supports API connection
- Most scraping APIs are easy to use and customize
A scraping API is exactly what you need if you run a smaller business and need specific data types. The data collected with this tool is easier to sort out and use, and you will never have to worry about getting restricted if the target system accepts API connections.