The internet is an excellent source of market insights for business owners, both established and startup enterprises. You do not have to be tech-savvy to take advantage of these resources. By carrying out market research using the right tools, you can grow your business into a competitive and global brand.
A residential proxy and web scraper are two tools that are vital in market research. Although they often go together, they have different functions.
What is a Web Scraper?
A scraper is a tool that automatically extracts data from targeted websites. It parses this data and stores it in a database or spreadsheet within the computer.
Further analysis of the data collected enables you to make critical business decisions and develop better strategies. It will also benefit your business in several areas.
1) Competition Monitoring
By extracting data from your competitor’s websites, you can monitor their marketing campaigns and product creation. That will ensure you do not lose your market share.
2) Strategic Pricing
Extracting price-related data makes it possible to set competitive prices. You can set prices that fall slightly below the baseline to attract price-sensitive customers.
3) Improved Customer Satisfaction
Most customers voice their opinions about your brand and products on review websites or social media. Extracting this data helps you improve your brand, keep your customers happy, and build brand loyalty.
4) Keyword Research
SEO is an essential part of any business with an online presence. Collecting data on the most responsive keywords helps you build organic traffic to your website. It improves your marketing strategy.
5) Lead Generation
Through web scraping, you can collect the contact details of potential customers from sites such as the Yellow Pages and LinkedIn. Quality leads improve your sales level and increase your profitability.
Most website administrators do not allow data extraction from their site. This is because the scraper slows down the site and gives the impression of a regular visitor, leading to misleading web analytics.
Scrapers work with proxies to ensure that the website administrator does not block or ban your IP address from accessing the web.
Why is a Residential Proxy Important in Web Scraping?
According to oxylabs, a residential proxy is a genuine IP address attached to a physical location and provided by an ISP to a homeowner.
When connecting to the internet using a device that has a proxy, the proxy acts as a go-between. It prevents direct communication between your device and the internet. The proxy hides your IP address and location, enabling you to access websites anonymously.
Proxies can be residential or data center. Internet service providers issue residential proxies to homeowners while data center proxies are artificially made in data centers.
Although data center proxies are fast, their IP addresses are similar in appearance. It makes them easy to detect. Residential proxies, on the other hand, have the appearance of a regular user.
Residential proxies are the most suited for web scraping for many reasons. Let’s check them out:
1) Highly Legitimate
They provide authentic IP addresses that cannot raise the suspicion of the web administrator. They allow you to scrape large amounts of data, and you do not have to worry about facing unexpected bans from your target websites.
2) High Levels of Anonymity
Anonymity is of importance in web scraping, especially when scraping data from your competitors’ websites. Residential proxies can adequately mask your IP and location without being detected.
3) A More Precise Spectrum of Locations
Web scraping for market research requires that you scrape data from location-specific websites. Using residential proxies attached to that location will provide more comprehensive results, improving the quality of your data. You can also access geo-blocked websites.
Residential proxies can come with rotating or static IP addresses. Rotating IP addresses reduce your chances of being detected. They enable you to make each web request with a different IP address, unlike static IPs, where you use a single IP address for all your projects.
You also get the option to use a private or shared proxy. Private proxies are assigned to one user while some users use shared proxies and split the cost. Private residential proxies are more secure and have higher uptime than shared residential proxies.
Residential proxies improve the efficiency of web scrapers. However, you can also use them separately to meet other needs, such as:
- Increasing your bandwidth to give your employees a quicker browsing experience
- Improving your network’s security by hiding your IP address
- Accessing sites where your IP address is blacklisted
- Opening and managing numerous social media accounts for your business
- Verifying your online ads to avoid getting scammed
Residential proxies are different from web scrapers, but you can use them together for a more efficient web scraping project. The residential proxy provides anonymity, ensures that the web administrator does not detect your scraper, and makes it possible to access location-specific dat
Ensure that you are getting your proxy server and web scraper from a reputable vendor and test them for compatibility before making your purchase.