Market research might sound like an internet phenomenon but it is not. For centuries, businesses have utilized different methods to gather, analyze, and interpret market information. They also have various capacities researched into the spending habits, characteristics, needs, and location of their target markets as well as that of their competitors.
Business owners have always needed to understand the customer and cater to their needs perfectly. A business that fully meets the expectations of its customers is bound to excel. The modern-day reiteration of market research dates back to the 1900s. Between 1900 and 1940, Daniel Starch and his contemporary George Gallup initiated the quantitative questionnaire method of market research.
This process solely focused on understanding the masses rather than the individual as the process from the 40s through to the 60s turned to be. The 80’s form of market research focused on understanding consumer mindsets through quantitative methods and the use of technology such as phones and the computer.
The digital era integrates both quantitative and qualitative approaches to reveal customer personas. On the internet, there is a massive amount of data. This data is harvested and analyzed to help businesses understand the customer and the ecosystem that they operate in.
Web scraping for market research
The web-scraping tool uses a programmer code coupled with proxy servers. The proxy server is not a novel tool in the online space. Proxies are very beneficial for a myriad of internet applications. They are perhaps most recognized for their ability to hide user IP addresses, enhancing online privacy and anonymity.
The proxy server stands between the computer and the internet channeling all communications to and from the computer to an internet-enabled device through it. Any online user tracking or simply viewing your web activity will only see the proxies’ IP address rather than that of your computer.
Why proxies are used in web scraping
While web scraping for market research data is a legal process, it is not always an easy one to carry out. Choosing proxies for this activity has to be done with several considerations in mind. Website owners are generally opposed to the process because some scraping tools carry out unethical forms of scraping.
These tools can have a detrimental effect on websites when they send too many queries or download huge chunks of data at a go. Such actions will significantly lower web speeds for the website’s users. Since web crawlers are neither organic traffic sources nor do they bring many benefits to the website’s owners, most businesses have security measures in place that block their actions.
Anti-scraping measures can also block competitive scraping between businesses that compete for a market segment. Some businesses block web scraping simply because they do not accept open data access policies. Choosing proxies for market research can be a challenge because the market is filled with various proxy types and options.
If you don’t want to issue problems when web scraping because you have more important tasks to do, you can always think of outsourcing web scraping tools. For example, Oxylabs provides a web scraping tool that saves your time and ensures high success rates.
Tips on choosing proxies for market research
The merits and demerits of various proxy servers should be key when choosing proxies for web scraping. There are multitudes of proxies out there, which can effectively hide your geo-location and improve online privacy.
However, some proxies are more efficient at web scraping than others are. The best proxies for market research should:
- Be legitimate
Datacenter proxies are the most common types of proxies out there. There are affordable and easy to access as well and are very popular with users that need access to geo-restricted content. Nevertheless, datacenter proxies do not have legitimate IP addresses, while residential proxies do.
Residential proxies are sold by internet service providers and have legitimate IPs. The best proxies for web scraping should have genuine IP addresses.
- Not be banned or blacklisted easily
Any keen webmaster monitoring web activity can tell when datacenter proxies are scraping data and ban or block them. Fortunately, residential proxies have genuine IP addresses. When used in web scraping, their activity will resemble that of an organic user and will not be blocked.
- Be fast
Some datacenter proxies are dirt-cheap and at most times have too much user traffic going through them. They can, therefore, be painfully slow. When choosing proxies for market research, purchase fast private proxies to enhance data access speeds.
- Be rotated
While a residential proxy is perfect for web scraping, it can also raise suspicions if continuously utilized on one site. A good scraping tool requires a rotating pool of proxies to hinder detection.
- Be reliable
Low quality and cheap proxies are not just slow but very inefficient as well. Since they are generally overloaded with traffic, they will crash without notice. This can be very detrimental to the scraping process. Use efficient and reliable proxies for accurate data collection.
Since modern-day market research is deeply associated with online data collection, businesses require easy, fast, accurate, and efficient data mining processes. Web scraping is the go-to online data harvesting process for massive amounts of data at the speed of light.