In the digital era, a new claim has been made that data is king. But, how do successful businesses collect it? Most importantly, what kind of data they are gathering, and for what cause? These questions very well could be the obstacles not allowing one to accept this new, and somewhat bold claim.
Of course, individuals can access the most significant source out there – the internet – and manually collect as much data as needed, free of charge. However, the business’ pace is ever growing. Hence, there is a need to collect data in a way that it allows maximizing productivity while keeping efforts and expenses at the minimum, and this process has to be done at a quick pace. In essence, gathering it from public sources means automation and proxies.
With that being said, this article aims to enhance an individual’s awareness of how to use proxies on the business level, providing real-life examples of how enterprises benefit from web scraping operations while harnessing proxies. What’s more, our account manager Jonas will provide valuable insights and recommendations on which proxy types to choose for a particular business case.
How to use proxies for market research
Nowadays, almost every trade out there has gone online, and market research craftsmanship has taken a new level. Without taking a presented chance to study the market and competition to aid an overall strategy, businesses don’t stand a chance to outmaneuver their competition. What’s more, today’s marketing vehicles take data-directed routes, allowing to work out the strategy that effortlessly charms targeted audience’s curiosity.
When it comes to gathering data for market research purposes, especially if it is a direct competitors’ data, more often than not, it can be a challenging task, as companies are taking specific measures to protect their websites from other corporate IP addresses. This is exactly where the use of proxies comes in handy, as it allows to mask internet requests under multiple, genuine IP addresses without ever raising any suspicions to the source.
Furthermore, every experienced marketer knows that the core of a successful marketing strategy is all about effectively connecting to the target audience. In this day and age, the majority of individuals willingly share their interests, hobbies, likes, opinions, to name a few on social media channels. It is evident that this kind of data would substantially aid in crafting a marketing strategy that will allow connecting to the desired audience.
Moreover, Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Of course, these words carry a lot of wisdom, but let’s take it even further and step outside of the box. Imagine collecting data from the review sites on your direct competitors’ customers insights. Every good and bad review can be extraordinary helpful not only to adjust marketing tactics, but also to identify gaps in product or service development, and most importantly, to effectively address consumers’ needs.
Of course, it is only the tip of the iceberg. However, the use of a proxy service is an essential part of successful web data gathering operations for market research purposes.
“When choosing between residential or data center proxies, there are more than a few factors that need to be considered. However, I would say it primarily depends on the breadth and variety of websites that are identified as the best sources to provide actionable insights. If the sites are scattered around the globe, a high range of localized IPs would be of great importance.
Residential proxies give unmatched flexibility when choosing any location globally. On the other hand, data center proxies are second to none in terms of response times, despite the recent residential proxy innovations.”
How to use proxies for brand protection
How long does it take to build a successful brand? Depends, but it safe to say that it will be counted in years column. How fast is it possible to damage a brand’s image? Depends, but it is safe to state that it can be done within days or hours for that matter. Switched-on businesses realize that their brands always face threats that can harm their reputation. To protect their brand and a hard-fought market share, they take every possible precaution to secure themselves.
For instance, to effectively tackle counterfeiting and copyright infringement, businesses harness proxies to crawl e-commerce websites, auction sites, and relevant marketplaces. This practice helps to not only detect but also to collect the necessary information to prosecute the fraudsters.
When it comes to retail monitoring, proxies come in handy to access websites from different geo-locations, which allows pinpointing not-authorized traders that are selling the business in question products or services.
Counterfeiting and retail monitoring are only two threats among many that can damage businesses. Being proactive in terms of brand protection is now a security must-have for all the companies online.
“Running an efficient fraud investigation operation online may require several web data extraction solutions. Depending on the marketplace that is monitored, all proxy types can prove to be effective, yet discovering that requires an in-depth test to be carried out. Knowing that counterfeit production is a stark issue on the largest e-commerce sites, I’d aim to use our Real-Time Crawler, which allows to focus on cleaning and analyzing the actual data while leaving the crawling to Oxylabs.”
How to use proxies for ad verification
Advertising rarely comes with a cheap price tag. What’s more, it is near impossible to calculate the actual return on the investment of the advertisement campaigns. Of course, businesses invest wisely and before placing their ads online, carry out the necessary research on the platforms, investigating their internet traffic and visitors. However, some of them don’t even think about securing their investments.
Nowadays, ad fraud has taken a new level, and a substantial amount of advertising budgets go down the drain on ad impressions that land on fraudulent websites. What’s more, fake websites are continually attracting ads to their servers by portraying heavy organic traffic. Consequently, this means that the ad never reaches the desired audience. Hence, there is a need to protect the investment, and this is where ad verification practice comes in.
Ad verification is a widespread practice within businesses that have an online presence, ensuring that ads are displayed on the right websites, reaching the right audience, and at the right time. Proxies are harnessed to detect fraud, improve ad performance, and check advertisers’ landing pages anonymously. It is almost as an insurance policy that covers the investment.
Recommendations: Residential Proxies
“Verifying ads requires some flexibility in resources. As the mobile ads share globally is ever-growing, using residential proxies is paramount not only due to a broad and precise spectrum of locations but also because the website will identify the incoming request as coming from a mobile device. Such traffic is unlikely to be detected as a bot.”
How to use proxies for travel fare aggregation
Travel fare aggregators’ livelihood depends on extracting data from a variety of sources. These sources can be hotel and flight websites, online travel agencies, train and bus service providers sites, and any other site that can provide data that is appealing to a traveler. The aim is to provide an all-in-one website solution, which effectively collects and displays all the relevant real-time data. This data is always scattered across the whole world wide web. By bringing it under one hood, travel fare aggregator websites offer unmatched convenience to their target audience.
This data needs to be as accurate as it can get to fuel the fare aggregators engines. It is a crucial factor in order to build a strong customer base. However, collecting intelligence from most popular online sources is challenging, as usually there are strict safety checks implemented, preventing automated web data collection. These checks sooner or later will block any IP that is activated and operated by a bot.
Essentially, web scraping is the most suitable way to aggregate vast amounts of data in a short period, on a daily or even hourly basis. After all, this is the key to the whole business model. Thus, to ensure successful web scraping tasks, proxy use, and in significant quantities, is an essential part of the entire operation.
“In this case, a combination of both residential and data center proxies works perfectly. Depending on the specific goals, both tools provide the necessary result. Some travel websites are more picky towards the traffic they receive, so residential proxies work like magic. Due to geographically based pricing strategies, using a wide array of proxy locations is essential as well.”
How to use proxies for pricing intelligence
It is a big one, and probably the most obvious one. Experienced e-commerce players often describe their market, rivalry, and environment to be ruthlessly competitive but the future is bright for the industry and everyone wants a slice of the pie. It is truly a dog-eat-dog world out there, as markets are exceptionally dynamic and price sensitive. E-commerce based businesses need to continually react to competitions’ pricing adjustments and alter their own pricing strategy accordingly to drive the volume of sales. After all, the consumers are spoiled with choice, and with a swift click of the button can increase your website’s bounce rate.
The reality is that there are thousands, and sometimes even millions of price changes implemented every day across numerous e-commerce websites. To keep up with the ever-changing markets and consumer price sensitivity, companies use intelligent solutions that deliver reliable pricing data in an automated way. This is of utmost importance to secure a piece of a market share. Let’s go even further, and state that it is crucial in order to survive.
Leading marketplaces and e-commerce websites are putting in the effort to block any web scraping activity at their end. How to overcome their implemented anti-scraping measures? Use proxies.
“Tracking prices online may be tricky – the complexity of such a process increases when more marketplaces are monitored. As with any other website, you’ll probably need a unique approach when retrieving the data, thus adjusting the proxies to the process. If there’s a need to scale the pages retrieved without further ado, I would bet on the Real-Time Crawler. Nobody likes it when proxies get blocked during a more intense crawl, right?”
How to use proxies for SEO monitoring
Search engine optimization (SEO) directly impacts whether your potential customer will ever get to see the main page of your website. What’s the good of having the best product or service on the market without the internet users to acknowledge it?
The value of search results rankings is extraordinary. For instance, according to Protofuse, less than 10% of people advance to the page 2 on search engines. On the subject of the positions, according to Advanced Web Ranking real-time statistics, first position racks in 35% mobile device internet user’s clicks while desktop users accumulate astonishing 42.5% click-through rate.
Commonly, this traffic is recognized to fall under warm leads column that has a much greater potential to convert into paying customers. So, how to reach the top?
Well, staying at the top of the search results page is a major challenge for many brands. SEO agencies offer various solutions that help companies to stay ahead of their competition. All these tools must be backed with the latest search engine intelligence data. Once again, web scraping and proxies combination allows accessing the wealth of data such as best ranking keywords, consumers’ search queries, competition analysis, and so on. Optimizing business’ SEO practice will allow to claim those top sweet spots, and capture the lion’s share of search queries.
“When monitoring keyword rankings on SERPs, you’ll need a variety of proxies – and a lot of them, coming from different locations. When using our Real-Time Crawler, our clients only care about the keywords and parameters they push to our API. The rest is history, as they retrieve the SERP data within seconds.”
Well, that was quite a lot to take in. However, we only just scratched the surface. Oxylabs has been founded over a decade ago, and we have dealt with every possible web scraping task in order to meet our clients’ needs and wants. The beauty of the web scraping is that it’s continually evolving, and imagination and creativity allow to extract invaluable insights that truly guarantees substantial rewards.
There are plenty of businesses that are already reaping the benefits of what this practice can offer. On the other hand, there are plenty of enterprises that choose to ignore unlocking the knowledge which would allow them to realize their full potential.
So, I invite you to get a consultation with Oxylabs, or if you have any further questions feel free to leave a comment below, drop us a line via live chat or email us at [email protected]
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