The internet is an overwhelming, complex world of digital information. When analyzed as a sole identity, it has so many moving parts and gigantic, overlapping storages of knowledge one cannot find effective ways to provide an abstract description for its main functions and purposes. To simplify, we can look at the web as a platform that connects electronic devices and their owners all around the world. Of course, while most imagine such hardware as mobile phones, tablets, and personal computers, a massive part of the internet consists of servers with data storage too massive to comprehend.
As the world of useful but mind-blowing information, the most relevant sources make internet users smarter and more knowledgeable on important topics but the abundance of information presents unique new-age problems. While some topics, data presentations, and discussions are near identical and overlap, monitoring information changes helps us evaluate the relevancy of new data points.
When discussing the abundance of information, we are not only talking about educational material, news articles, and other forms of digital media. Tracking, monitoring, and observation of individuals, companies, and other third parties on the internet, combined with the ability to store such meticulous, detailed information online helps us study, analyze, and derive conclusions from user behavior.
As the best communication platform, the web and the manipulation of data on it creates the most efficient pathways to the desired information. Storages of such data are best visible on popular search engines that monitor user queries and sort search results based on their interests and which websites provide the most relevant information linked to particular keywords.
Understanding the desires of internet users, how they behave, what are products and services in high demand, and the most efficient ways to lead a web surfer to your website are the main aspects that turn an interested internet user into a customer. The web is full of such data, available to businesses today. While there is no limit on public information that you can acquire, utilization of the most effective tools is often shunned by the web server owners that are in control of such sources. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of the availability of public data online, the best tools to acquire and analyze information, and potential obstacles you or your company may face in the process.
As an example, we will address how a web scraping API is great for sharing information between parties without downsides to the web server owner. You will also learn why a web scraping API is not the best choice for every company, with some businesses putting in extra resources to protect public data from automated extraction, which is the exact opposite of a web scraping API.
With unrestricted access to public information, businesses are not so protective over their resources, allowing third parties to utilize built-in APIs for efficient extraction of information. Of course, not every company makes this choice. Retailers with many competitors tend to impose strict control to maximize organic website traffic and real user behavior, as web scrapers are frequently used by competitors that want to keep an eye on every step your company makes. For such businesses, implementing APIs is counterproductive, as the players in the same market will have easy access to organized information about your pricing and other activities. By understanding these strengths and potential weaknesses, other retailers will use this knowledge to present more favorable prices in their online shops.
Open data levels out the playing field, and if retailers gave a green light to web scraping, the competition between such businesses would be an exhausting fight over price sensitivity. Web scraping APIs are the best for businesses that benefit from data sharing. In situations where collaboration with partners and recurring customers is essential for mutual growth. Also, in markets that have many competitors, creating an API can be a great idea, if the company brand has recognition, low costs, and unique features that create conditions that cannot be replicated by competitors. In such cases, an API does more good than harm: since an already engaged client base will receive more comfort and appreciation from efficient data exchange, and the downsides of easy data access will be outshined by acquired benefits.
As an example, let's use massive, ever-changing industries with many competitors and overwhelming data changes. When everything feels out of control, affiliate businesses or trading brokers can choose to focus on customer satisfaction as their success anchor point. Granting API access to interested customers will help enhance the use of offered services. When the client himself has a chance to analyze markets and investment opportunities through presented tools, the convenience of organized data access will outweigh the negatives of open data access.
Even if a competitor can use it to steal ideas and reap the benefits from information extraction, companies known for simplifying knowledge acquisition and offering the shortest path to desired results become more reputable than competitors and even the improvement of similar tools from other businesses is often not enough to overshadow the reliability and marketing value gained from being one of the first businesses to grant API access in the market.
While already successful companies have less to gain, and in some markets, they have more to lose when implementing an API, a more open data approach for up-and-coming businesses can be a great way to stand out from competitors and attract new customers. There is no hard ceiling for market data available to the readers, which can overwhelm potential clients. APIs help us filter out the abundance of data and focus on the most relevant information in the present moment.
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