Data gathering; a legitimate means of getting ahead

The importance of data is undeniable. Its uses are woven into every sector and function of the global economy. In fact, the cold, hard reality is that without having access to valuable data, you will struggle to get ahead. By Julius Cerniauskas, CEO, Oxylabs.

Simply, the organisations that leverage their data to make decisions when it comes to strategizing are less likely to make mistakes and are better prepared to compete with competitors and cater to their customers.

Historically, accessing insightful data was a challenging process, complicated by laborious (and often tedious) collection methods. However, advancements in technology, like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have rapidly shifted the needle and have now made the data gathering process far more efficient and accessible.

The amount of publicly available data is vast and being able to leverage it can often represent the difference between success and failure. Data gathering solutions are now recognised as a legitimate means of capturing information, in an ethical way, to aid decision making. Therefore, it is no surprise that the data industry is expected to grow by almost $100bn within the next five years.

Proven data gathering methods require a good quality proxy to help ensure the user is anonymous and allows them to enter a website without having their IP address blocked, providing a secure and reliable way of gathering data.

Even though many people are aware of web data gathering (or web scraping as it is more commonly known), most of don’t understand the true value it can deliver for a business. Let’s explore it:

Business intelligence

Gathering internal data is an essential consideration for any business, as it can help identify how well campaigns are performing and provides business leaders with the necessary information to make well-informed decisions.

However, if a business is looking to go further, it will also need to gather external data to stay ahead of the competition. Data gathering technology helps significantly, as it will enable a company to gather information on the closest of rivals from tracking changes in pricing, auditing the product line, observing presence online to reviewing public engagement and even monitoring generic promotional activity. With access to this variety of insights, an organisation is able to understand its competitor’s movements, regardless of where they are in the world and use that knowledge to stay ahead.

Stock market research

As discussed, business intelligence is key to helping a business get ahead. One of the biggest environments it can do this in is the stock market. For years, manually performing stock market research was almost impossible for most businesses as it would prove to be costly and inefficient. Luckily, using data gathering services can automatically keep track of current stocks in the market and access incredibly valuable financial data quickly and easily.

As far as data gathering uses go, being able to capture stock market research is hugely beneficial. The right data gathering tool can analyse and refine data by removing all the redundancies, which will leave only the usable data. This reliable data can then be analysed with specific software to give a precise result that can be used to make an informed decision on investments. The offset of this is huge savings in time, money and resources, which can then be passed on to the business.

Dynamic pricing

Since most businesses set their prices based on the laws of supply and demand, flexibility over pricing is crucial. That way, it’s easier to remain competitive in the market while bringing in as much revenue as possible. If a business fails to price its products appropriately, it is likely to miss out on potential revenue to its savvier competitors.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way, as data gathering services can be used to set an effective dynamic pricing strategy, meaning it automatically gathers the latest pricing information as opposed to having to acquire it manually. Once this data is attained a business can then set the price for its product or service appropriately, depending on the conditions of the market.

Enhanced lead generation

Lead generation is by far the most important part of the sales process for most organisations. Based on Ringlead statistics, 85% of B2B marketers say that lead generation is their most important content marketing goal. However, attaining the required information through publicly available sources and social people data can be incredibly time consuming.

Data gathering services can be incredibly useful in terms of lead generation, as they can provide organisations with access to a considerable amount of valuable information. Once it has been structured into an understandable format, there will be a massive database of potential clients on hand. Therefore, enabling marketers to develop tailored campaigns, designed to reach more relevant customers and hopefully in turn result in converted leads.

Looking ahead

The last few years have seen organisations increasingly leverage publicly available data, with many now relying on data more than ever to get a better understanding of their competitors and customers. Web scraping has played a fundamental role in achieving this. But it’s important to develop new, innovative methods of web scraping to stay one step ahead of the market.

As an example, the role of AI and Machine Learning is already beginning to play a significant contribution. At Oxylabs, we’ve recently released a Next-Gen Residential Proxies platform, enabling users to collect publicly available data, without the threat of detection by anti-bot solutions. The platform is the first of its kind to integrate AI and Machine Learning and provides the highest success rate for web data collection. Again, this will support organisations looking to enhance their business intelligence and lead generation capabilities.

Additionally, in order to expand Oxylabs influence in the data industry, we have also created an AI & ML advisory board, comprising of prominent professionals from the world of machine learning, AI, and data science, many of whom have experience working in highly reputable companies and universities like NASA and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

This is only the tip of the iceberg – as organisations dig deeper into the data available to them, they will need the right tools and platforms in place to support their data collection efforts. Data gathering solutions are a legitimate means of capturing information in an ethical way, but it is crucial that proxy service providers ensure ethics and innovation are at the heart of their offering.

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