Data is all around us. Since the popularization of the internet, the amount of available data multiplies daily. Whether it’s through information posted on social media, the launch of new products on an online marketplace, or from customer-generated reviews online, the possibilities for collecting data online are numerous. However, to gather useful insights and expand our business, we must understand how to acquire, organize, and analyze this data.
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5 Ways to Collect Data Online
Here are 5 of the most common techniques to collect data online:
- Surveys and questionnaires
- Marketing analytics
- Transactional data
- Web scraping
- Data marketplaces
Let’s take a look at each of these ways below.
1. Surveys and questionnaires
Running a survey, whether qualitative or quantitative, is the most well-known method of obtaining authentic data with people’s consent. This way, you may conduct a survey to get responses that are relevant to what you’re looking for, whether it’s feedback after a purchase is made or a market study to determine the viability of a new product launch.
2. Marketing analytics
If your organization has a website that is linked to a monitoring service like Google Analytics, you are already gathering data the moment someone visits your page. The same is true for social media accounts and sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, or when you launch an advertising campaign. Knowing which tools to utilize and how to retrieve this data is critical for guiding your marketing strategy.
3. Transactional data
In addition to the above-mentioned study of your marketing channels, if your company has an online store and conducts transactions, the data acquired from your sales is incredibly helpful for understanding your consumers’ preferences and the performance of your offerings. You may, for example, enhance retention by offering discounts on related items based on client purchases.
4. Web scraping
Data collection through market research, monitoring your marketing channels, or obtaining sales information is typically free and done through your own sources – this is referred to as first-party data. To acquire external data for your company, you must have the technical skills to gather the data manually or through the use of specific tools – this data is referred to as third-party data.
Web scraping is the process of extracting information from webpages and transferring it to an XLS, CSV, or JSON file. However, extracting data effectively, identifying what data is important, and not violating any data protection regulations require knowledge and a skill set that takes time to develop. To save time and money, it is usually best to outsource this activity to freelancers or specialist firms.
5. Data marketplaces
Data marketplaces are another option to obtain third-party data. A fast online search yields multiple websites and portals selling datasets from various sources, such as historical data on properties for sale in a given city, a list of all items for sale on a specific website, or even demographic information about patients with a specific ailment.
To Sum Up
As seen above, there are several ways to collect data online. But more important than knowing what these techniques are, is knowing how to put them into practice.
Whatever method you choose to collect data for your organization, bear in mind that this data must always be obtained lawfully, with the consent of individuals, and in accordance with data protection laws.