Thanks to recent advances in technology, data aggregation has become big business. Now more than ever, there’s money to be made in gathering information from the internet to generate and present insights. This is essentially what data aggregation is all about.
The information you collect can be obtained from multiple data sources, which is done with the intention of combining the results into a summary for analysis. It’s vital that the data you acquire is of ample quality and quantity, as this determines the accuracy and value of the subsequent insights.
Data aggregation is useful in various areas of business, including finance, strategy, marketing, pricing and more. But how is the information obtained? What industries are using data aggregation? Let’s find out.
How Data Aggregation Works
Also called web data extraction or web harvesting, web scraping is the technique through which large amounts of data can be extracted from online resources and stored locally in a format such as spreadsheets.
The data available on websites can only be viewed using your browser, which lacks the functionality to save the data for personal or business use. Your only option is then to manually acquire the data. Needless to say, this can be a long and tedious process.
Luckily, this can be automated and accomplished in a fraction of the time with web scraping. Here are some examples of where the technique is commonly used:
- To extract product details from competing online retailers
- To obtain business information from listings for marketing
- To acquire property agent contact details from real estate sites
Web scraping software is the primary solution and is available as a cloud-based service or downloadable software. It’s also possible to hire a developer to create bespoke data extraction software to meet your specific needs. In any case, a proxy is key to successful web scraping operations.
This is because websites are designed to detect and prevent these types of activity to protect against security threats that are characterized by the use of bots. A residential proxy service allows you to bypass this by routing your connections through the provider’s servers, thus masking your IP address. Click here to learn more about proxies.
Now that we have an idea of how data aggregation works, let’s explore some of the industries where it’s used.
Using an API (application programming interface), marketers sell data to e-commerce businesses for various purposes. For example, an online retailer may want to display independent reviews on their product pages. A marketing firm can use data aggregation to collect and organize the necessary information.
Not only does this save their client time, but it can also lead to increased traffic and trust among customers. The data is provided as a service and is priced either by type or volume. Aside from product reviews, marketers can also assist online retailers through data aggregation by improving recommendations and providing other useful insights.
A key driver of success among news websites is being able to report stories first, as well as delivering relevant content based on what the reader is most likely to be interested in. News aggregation is vital to making this happen in the modern online reporting landscape.
Through web scraping, data aggregation assists with efficiently collecting news articles, compiling the links and videos they contain, distributing the articles across timelines, and capturing trends among readers. This is typically carried out over the following steps:
- Gather data by crawling popular news websites
- Extracting a short introduction from the article to use as a preview
- Organizing relevant links in each post
- Deciding which information is relevant and eliminating duplicates
- Adding visual elements to the articles
As you can probably imagine, this process would be impossible to repeat manually on any reasonable scale, which highlights the immense value that data aggregation has for certain businesses.
Some of the most lucrative types of online travel businesses are travel aggregator websites. These serve as resources for travelers in search of the best deals and prices for their planned trip. The travel aggregator provides this information and earns revenue from affiliate sales or contextual advertising.
You might visit a travel aggregator website to find cheap flights or compare prices at different times of the year. Websites in this category can also help you book hotel rooms, rent cars, or purchase discounted vacation packages. Companies that provide these services are immensely popular among travelers due to the value of the information.
Larger businesses can leverage their size to earn revenue in other areas as well. For instance, a travel aggregator might buy numerous hotel rooms at discounted prices before advertising them on their website. They can also earn affiliate commissions by partnering with the companies whose information they aggregate.
These are just some of the industries where data aggregation has proven immensely valuable, both as a form of income to providers of the service and by offering insights to their clients. It’s safe to say that the use cases will only grow as the technology advances.