Real Time Web Scraping vs Scheduled Web Scraping: Which is the real deal?

  • 20/09/2017

Many organizations place a lot of premium on scraping web data on a real-time basis. In most cases, it is considered that the number of decision choices available is significantly inversely related to the time lag between data upload on the web and download onto your system. In simple words, the more updated data you have, more clear is your vision in decision making processes.

Scraping real time data can be of immense support to decision-making activities like for a online reseller, it is of paramount importance to continuously keep track of available inventory so that revenue is not lost due to unavailable stock.

In case the same reseller is able to monitor the number of bounces on a particular product due to unavailability of a certain variant, the seller can make arrangements to meet the demand. For example, let’s say a particular shoe has two color variants – black and blue but the blue one is unavailable. Now, if the seller is able to track the number of hits and attempts to buy the blue one, he can take a decision on whether the demand is sufficient for him to stock up pairs of blue shoes or not.

Another prime example would be that of capital markets. With people and organizations getting more savvy with their investments and equity markets, there is a huge use case for real time web scraping. Imagine getting different data sets from different sources together at the same place on a real-time basis without scrambling and seeking them in all directions.

Imagine if you had stock prices available from Google finance, earning estimates and other ratios from Yahoo! Finance and similarly other data from other providers together in a single window on your palms! Wouldn’t decision making get simpler?

Real time web scraping as a service uses a rest API to ensure that you are always on top of the data and information game. With the help of such a real-time web scraping and data extraction service, you can monitor almost all dynamic data sets available on the internet’s public domain with ease.

Real time API or rest API allows for data to be continuously streamed and integrated onto your machine. This is very similar to looking up an online directory where you enter a query and all data related to the query is displayed onto your screen. It is similar to the way you search for a gadget over amazon and the website delivers all related search results like specifications, price, model number and so on.

Now that we’ve established the importance of real-time web scraping and data extraction, let’s look at the flipside.

Is real-time data always essential? Is it necessary for every company to keep track of every data at every point in time? No, it is not. There are organizations which are not very sensitive to data, instead they need trends to take a decision. For instance, a Chief Financial Officer of a company does not need to take a look and continuously monitor sales every minute in the day to take a decision, he just needs to take a look at a set of periodic data – the period may be weeks, months or years as well to draw an analytical insight into the data.  

So, then how does web scraping help in here? Simple, just like a web scraping real time API helps in real-time fetching of data, you can schedule a web scraping session for various frequencies and choose the format you would wish to receive it in.

A scheduled web scraping service fetches, formats and delivers required data at particular intervals. Like in the above example, the Chief Financial Officer of the organization may choose to get a weekly statement of inventory sold online. This is possible through scheduled web scraping and is a much-preferred route over fetching data through a real time API.

There is no best way to scrape data. In fact, it largely depends on what do you wish to do with the data set. If your need depends on real time data, a real-time wb scraping API or rest API is best suited for you and if you need data periodically, you can opt for scheduled web scraping.

The good news is that, no matter what you choose, BotScraper is committed to delivering the best quality of data and experience.

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