If you think the web couldn’t possibly house any more data, think again. By 2025, the world’s web data is predicted to hit 163 zettabytes, according to IDC. That’s good news for businesses that want more access to highly-targeted information on everything from competitors’ funding to reviews from a specific location or age group. However, it also means web data will become more overwhelming to collect and manage.
But with intuitive and reliable web data extraction, you can access scores of free web data and extract your way to a fine-tuned, competitive edge. While everyone else is scanning headlines or manually entering price points, your business can automatically gather everything you need on a daily, or even hourly, basis.
Extracted web data can be used for just about every decision you make in your business. For example, retailers can use web data to set competitive pricing. Financial advisors can offer the best investment advice to their clients by extracting daily stock market trends and investment headlines.
The best thing about the following free resources is that they’re all extractable, so you can pull web data regularly in bulk and apply it to your own business decisions. Here’s where to start to position your business as a data genius today.
If you’ve ever gone hunting for a competitor’s funding stats or revenue, you’ve likely landed on Crunchbase and found what you needed in one quick click. Although there’s a premium component that opens more options and research capabilities on the site, their freemium version offers tons of valuable data for businesses looking for more information.
AngelList’s tagline is “Where the world meets startups.” Whether you’re looking to join forces with a startup in a new job, find new angel investment opportunities, or raise more funding, you can find it on AngelList. The trick is navigating the massive number of pages and business profiles to pull together the information you need.
For example, maybe you only want to work with tech startups earning over a million dollars in revenue in the San Francisco Bay area. You can find that data if you use the right web data extraction strategy, and collect new leads as they join AngelList.
Data.gov offers over 150,000 datasets. That’s just a small fraction of the data resources available through federal, state and local governments. There are dozens – if not hundreds – of reasons small businesses may want to tap into these rich resources. For instance, the Consumer Complaint Database can help you figure out what the biggest complaints are about the product you want to improve, develop, or sell.
Want to figure out how colleges measure up regarding student aid? How about fruit and vegetable prices to help inform your grocery store or food startup? All of this data and more is available to be extracted and put to good use to improve your business.
4. Google Finance
Financial information is highly coveted by financial analysts, but collecting it isn’t always a straightforward process. Instead of setting up dozens of Google Alerts or compiling spreadsheets from Yahoo Finance, you can track investments and headlines by extracting data from Google Finance.
You can also get information on what’s going on in the stock market, and collect info on business and enterprise headlines to see what’s shaping financial decisions. After all, figuring out what the big players in your industry are doing can give you a competitive edge to help you keep pace and scale faster.
5. Social Mention
It’s almost impossible to run a business these days without staying on top of social media to see what your competition – and your own customers – are saying and doing. Social Mention can help you eavesdrop on those conversations so you can stay on top of the latest trends and what’s going on in your market.
Social Mention offers a robust look at what everyone is talking about, whether they’re on social media, blogging or vlogging. You can also use Social Mention to extract blog comments from a range of businesses to get a clearer idea of what their audiences are talking about, and then apply it to your own offerings.
The rapidly-growing job and recruiting site offers a database featuring millions of company reviews and CEO approval ratings. This type of information gives you invaluable insight into why people like – or don’t like – working for particular companies.
You can also extract salary reports, interview questions, and benefit reviews to determine how your business can better attract key players in your industry. In a candidate-driven market, knowing how to sweeten the pot can keep your open positions top of mind and help your company develop a reputation as a desirable place to work.
7. Lending Club
Jumping into peer lending is as easy as signing up with a service like Lending Club, but you can gather far more information about trends, best options for return on investment, and the best business loans by extracting the data.
Use some of your other web data, like how much funding your competitors acquired or what’s going on in the stock market, in conjunction with your peer lending data extraction. This combined powerhouse of information can help you make much better decisions about your capital and investments.
8. The Kauffman Index of Startup Activity
Startups have an uphill battle to survive that cursed five-year mark where 90% of businesses tend to fail. But you can get a better sense of what’s going on with the state of entrepreneurship with the The Kauffman Index of Startup Activity. Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, it can help you piece together the puzzle of how healthy your marketplace is if you’re a B2B working with startups.
For example, the report shows the startup density of a region, which is measured as the number of new employer businesses normalized by total business population. You’ll also see the startup activity for the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. All of this information could help you better position your own business for success.
Small business owners already know that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers assistance like funding, contracting, and local resources for rising entrepreneurs. However, the SBA also houses an Open Data Source page that lists all of the SBA data resources and APIs that are available to the public.
This means that thousands of government data resources are at your fingertips. The information is there and readily available, it just needs to be extracted and put to good use. You could find all the information you need on what global development looks like in your industry to help shape your services and products to meet the trends.
10. Consumer Price Index
Have you ever tried to compete with a major grocery store chain? They’re likely ahead of the game because they extract items in the Consumer Price Index food basket to compare and figure out how to price as competitively as possible.
That’s what three major store chains – Tesco, Waitrose, and Sainsbury – do to stay as competitive as possible without manually collecting this data. At one point, that type of laborious activity was actually the industry standard, but today, data extraction makes it a breeze to get pricing information quickly and automatically.
Nailing down a buyer persona is often just guesswork or based on a company’s own customer data. But if you’re a new business or have a hunch you could be doing better, you can extract data from Yelp to put together an exact buyer persona.
Once you filter through the data you need, like demographics and keywords, you can see exactly where your ideal customers are buying, what they’re saying, and what they want from your competitors. And once you’ve got that information, you’ve got a goldmine of qualified leads at your fingertips.
TripAdvisor is a great source of reviews and travel information that you can use to gain valuable customer insight. Once you extract the site’s reviews, for example, you could come away with a precise list of the best hotels in the area you want to serve, and incorporate that information into your marketing efforts. Or, if you’re a conference planner or a travel agent, you can take that data and use it to offer your customers targeted travel experiences without having to figure it out through trial and error.
Getting real-time competitive pricing structures is difficult without an automated way to do it. Web extraction through retail sites like Amazon keeps businesses on top of market trends so they can price accordingly and offer their customers the most up-to-date information available.
If your’re a journalist covering high tech or a business leader who needs to stay in the know, then Tech Crunch is an excellent resource for finding the latest high tech news. You can extract data by topic or keyword for research on an article or investments..
With so much free data out there, the problem isn’t finding a site to extract from. It’s how to narrow your scope and focus only on the most useful information available. Start with the most pressing daily need of your business, whether that’s real-time pricing or sourcing top talent, and add more data sets to your daily extraction as needed. Just don’t be surprised if web data extraction becomes the way you revolutionize your business this year.