When you run a company or just want to analyze data from the internet, it is impossible to gather everything you need manually and do it by hand. Therefore, there is a need for various methods which can make the whole process much easier and more simplified. When you want to collect and analyze data related to some topic, put your Spectrum internet prices to good use and utilize some modern methods.
Two of these methods are web scraping and data mining. You might have heard of them before but may be confused about what exactly they are and how you can differ between the two. Once you’re equipped with this basic knowledge, you can implement these methods and get all the data you need to make your relevant reports. Here’s a guide to what these two terms refer to, and how you can differentiate and implement them.
What Is Web Scraping?
Web scraping, also known as data scraping, refers to the practice where you can extract data from websites or online databases, and organize it into a more user-friendly manner. Usually, this user-friendly file is in the form of a CSV spreadsheet, which presents all the data in one place.
You can carry this activity out by using various scraping tools and methodologies. Web scraping usually occurs for academic or financial studies and aims to gather large volumes of data for further perusal and comparison.
What Is Data Mining?
On the other hand, data mining refers to when a tool is used to analyze a large set of data to identify various patterns and behaviors. It is basically advanced analysis of various datasets and is a complex process. Therefore, it usually requires machine learning technologies, with more complex and well-equipped tools.
Simply put, data mining is when you use certain tools to deeply analyze a set of data you’ve presented. These tools will identify patterns and also offer up predictions based on the trends it sees in the database.
The Difference Between the Two
The main difference between these two is the basic purpose. While web scraping refers to simply gathering data, data mining refers to analyzing that data in an advanced manner. Both of these usually occur sequentially. For example, you’d use a web scraping tool to collect all the data you need about a certain matter, and then analyze it using your data mining tool.
Data mining does not include data extraction, so you need to conduct web scraping at first. Web scraping is basically the first step before data mining, so you’ll usually use these tools at around the same time.
What Are the Applications?
Both of these tools have a vast array of applications. For example, ride sharing services use data mining to calculate estimated arrival times for their vehicles. They do this by seeing how various websites such as routing apps and traffic apps interact with each other.
Furthermore, online marketplaces may use web scraping and data mining to see how certain products are performing, how many transactions are taking place, and to determine the different areas of growth and decline.
Apart from these applications, you can use web scraping and data mining to virtually figure out any trend in your industry. You can then use these trends to improve your production, manufacturing, distribution, or marketing activities.
When Should You Use Them?
You can use web scraping and data mining at any point in time. If you’re just starting your company, then you can use them to gauge various trends and set up your operations accordingly. If you’ve been around for a while, you can even use these tools to see what your competition is doing, and how you compare with them.
In fact, you should make it a regular activity to conduct web scraping and data mining so that you’re on-board with the latest market trends. This can help you stay afloat and prosper even in uncertain times.
How Can You Carry Out Web Scraping & Data Mining?
If you have the resources to do so, hire data experts to conduct these activities. Large companies usually have a separate department which basically conducts data analysis on a constant basis. Give these employees the right tools for the job, and you’ll reap the benefits.
However, if you’re just starting out, you can find a few user-friendly tools for your own reference. Leverage these tools as much as possible and get all you can out of them. Once you start growing, then you can refine these processes further.
In conclusion, web scraping and data mining might be used interchangeably, but are two separate processes. However, both are quite essential, so you should allocate some resources to them for your success and progress.