Scraping Tools for Social Media
Scraping tools are a developer’s best friend for extracting data from web pages. Many people don’t realize that scraping is an integral part of social media marketing.
A social media scraper often refers to an automatic web scraping tool that extracts data from social media channels. They not only include social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn…etc., but also includes blogs, wikis, and news sites. All of these portals share something in common – they are all yielding user-generated content in the form of unstructured data that is accessible only through the web.
Now we know the definition of social media scraper, I am going to further illustrate how social media datasets can be used in business and list out the top 5 social media scraping tools I recommend.
(Image Source: Will big data change how you use social media?)
What can you do with scraped data from social media?
Data scraped from social media, is undoubtedly the largest and most dynamic dataset about human behavior. It brings social scientists and business experts brand new opportunities to understand individuals, groups and society, as well as exploring the great wealth hidden in the data.
Social media analytics|a survey of techniques, tools and platforms points out that the early business adopters of social media data analysis were typical companies in the retail and finance industries, who applied social media analytics to harness brand awareness, customer service improvement, marketing strategies, and even fraud detection.
Apart from the above-mentioned applications, today social media dataset can be also applied for:
- Customer sentiment measurement
After collecting customers’ reviews from social media channels, you can analyze customer attitude towards a particular topic or product by measuring their tone, context, and feelings. Tracking customer sentiment allows you to understand the overall customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, as well as their engagement intent. It provides insights for your current and upcoming marketing campaigns.
- Target market segmentation
“A target market is a group of customers (individuals, households or organizations), for which an organization designs, implements and maintains a marketing mix suitable for the needs and preferences of that group,” as defined on Wikipedia. Obtaining and analyzing social media dataset enable you to know to whom and when to market your products or services. Identifying more targeted markets helps you maximize your marketing Return on Investment.
- Online branding monitoring
Online branding monitoring is not only hearing the voice from your customers, but also knowing what your competitors, the press, and even the industry KOL saying. It is not only about your product or service, but also about your customer services, sales process, social engagement, and every touchpoint where customers engage with your brand.
- Market trends identifying
Identifying market trends is vital to adjust your business strategy, keeping your business at the same pace with the approaching shifts of direction in your industry. With the assistance of big data automation tools, market trend analysis is simply the comparison of industry data over a set time period, by means of tracking industry influencers and publications on social media channels.
Top 5 Social Media Scrapers in the Market
As one of the best free automatic web scraping tools in the market, Octoparse was developed for non-coders to accommodate complicated web scraping jobs.
The current Octoparse Version 8 has a brand new auto-detection algorithm that selects data for you automatically. It also provides an intuitive point-and-click interface and supports dealing with infinite scrolling, log-in authentication, text input (for scraping searching results), as well as clicking through drop-down menus. Scrapped data can be exported as Excel, JSON, HTML, or to databases. If you want to create a dynamic scraper to extract data from dynamic websites in real-time, Octoparse Cloud Extraction (paid plan) works well for getting dynamic data feeds as it supports the extraction schedule as frequently as every 1 min.
For scraping social media data, Octoparse already published many elaborated tutorials, like scraping tweets from Twitter and extracting posts from Instagram. In addition, Octoparse offers a data collection service that delivers the data right to your S3 bucket. If you are tight on time, it may be a good alternative to consider.
Read its customer stories to get an idea of how web scraping enhances businesses.
As a web-based app, Dexi.io is another intuitive extraction automation tool for commercial purposes with a starting price of $119/month. Dexi.io supports creating three kinds of robots: extractor, crawler, and Pipes.
Dexi.io does require some programming skills to master, but you can integrate third-party services for captcha solving, cloud storage, text analysis (MonkeyLearn service integration), and even with AWS, Google Drive, Google Sheets…
Addon (paid plan) is also a revolutionary feature of Dexi.io and the number of add-ons is still growing. Through add-ons, you could unlock more features available in Extractor and Pipes.
3. OutWit Hub
Unlike Octoparse and Dexi.io, Outwit Hub offers a simplistic graphic user interface, as well as sophisticated scraping functions and data structure recognition. Outwit Hub started as a Firefox addon and has later turned into a downloadable App.
With no prior programming background required, OutWit Hub can extract and export links, email addresses, RSS news and data tables to Excel, CSV, HTML or SQL databases.
Outwit Hub has an outstanding “Fast Scrape” features, which quickly scrapes data from a list of URLs that you feed in. For beginners though, you might need to go through some random tutorials and documentation as the scraping App lacks a point-and-click interface.
Zyte is a cloud-based web crawling platform that allows you to scale your crawlers and offers a smart downloader to work around bot countermeasures, turn-key web scraping services, and off-the-shelf datasets.
Instead of providing a complete suite, Zyte is a pretty complex and powerful web scraping platform in the market, not to mention each of the tools offered by Zyte is charged individually.
Moreover, Parsehub also has a browser-based extension to launch your scraping task instantly. Data can be exported as Excel, JSON, or via API.
The controversial thing about Parsehub has to do with its pricing. Parsehub’s paid version starts at $149 per month which is higher than most scraping products in the market, ie Octoparse’s standard plan only costs $89 per month for unlimited pages per crawl. There is a free plan but sadly limits to scraping 200 pages and 5 scraping jobs.
What are Social Media Scraping Tools?
Social media scraping tools can also be described as web scrapers, which you can use for extracting data from social media websites.
Web scrapers, also known as web scrapers, are web-based automation tools to extract data from web pages.
These bots send requests to web pages and, if they are returned, they parse the pages and extract any data. This is done in an automated way, sending too many requests in a short time.
Nevertheless, it makes it possible to extract your data of interest quickly.
While this may benefit you, it can also cause problems if you send too many requests.
Websites and social media platforms don’t like the idea that you could scrape content from their sites and will block you if caught.
Therefore, your bot must be able to bypass the anti-bot system of the target websites to succeed.
Best Social Media Scraping Tools
Many scraping tools are on the market for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So that you have a complete list of the best, we will be discussing the top 10.
Our top list has been carefully selected based on past users’ experience and effectiveness in data extraction.
So read on to make an informed choice today!
Phantombuster is a data extraction tool that helps sales and marketing teams of all sizes to collect information from LinkedIn and Instagram.
Administrators can also schedule and automate actions like following profiles, liking posts, and sending customized messages.
They can also accept requests and interact with prospects to increase their visibility on the internet.
ScraperAPI is a proxy API that allows web scraping. It handles headless browsers, bypasses Captchas, and provides proxies.
This makes it easy to access data from social media sites with difficult to scrap. All you need to do is to parse and process the data.
Although it is not an automated tool, it takes care of an essential part of scraping. ScraperAPI was designed to protect against scraping and bot systems.
This allows you to have unlimited access to the data that interests you. In addition, it is very affordable and only charges for successful requests.
Proxycrawl Scraper API
Proxycrawl’s scraper API is designed to extract structured data from specific websites. This tool makes scraping simple as you only need to use their APIs to collect data.
You can find a lot of scrapers on their site, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as LinkedIn.
Proxycrawl offers extended features. It also provides a proxy API that works well with its extraction API to collect structured data on social media sites that are not covered by their scraper API.
Proxycrawl also offers a proxy service for businesses, as the proxy service cannot be used for personal use.
Apify is an online platform that automates everything you do through a web browser. Although the term “all your actions” may seem exaggerated, it is clear that social media automation is one area that Apify covers extensively.
Several automation tools, known as actors, are available to aid in scraping social media platforms.
These tools include Facebook Page scraper and Instagram scraper as well as YouTube scraper and Twitter scraper.
Developers created Apify actors for developers. It works with NodeJS and requires the Apify client library/module n another to use it.
This paid tool provides shared proxy services, but you can also add your proxy to prevent blockages.
Octoparse was designed for non-programmers. Octoparse is a visual scraping tool that allows you to extract data from social media sites without coding skills.
To train this tool, you need to use the tool’s initiative point and click interface.
This tool offers a 2-week free trial. You can use this tool as a cloud-based application or as a desktop program.
In addition, you can use it to scrape social media platforms and has templates.
ScrapingBee is also a top social media scraping tool on the market. ScraperAPI can be considered a rival to ScrapingBee’s service, as it offers proxy APIs that allow web scraping.
This service offers a proxy API and an extraction tool.
You can also use CSS selectors on any social media website to select data points.
This service charges you based on the success of your requests, but it is a more expensive alternative to ScraperAPI.
This tool will not cause you to experience any blockages when extracting data from Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
Parsehub allows you to scrape any website without having to write a single line of code. All you have to do is use the point-and-click interface.
Parsehub is a cloud-based tool, but you can also download and install the free version if you have a limited budget.
Advanced features include support for proxy and IP rotation, scheduled data collection, regular expression-based Parsing, and API and Web-hooks.
This company, formerly known as Scrapinghub, made a name for itself and revolutionized the web-scraping industry. It offers a full suite of web scraping tools.
You can create social media scrapers for any social media platform by following the guidance and implementing the information contained on their documentation page.
This service is a combination o tool. Zyte was the original developer and maintainer of Scrapy, a popular Python web scraping tool.
Zyte Smart Proxy, a proxy API, is designed to allow you to bypass the anti-bot system of websites.
The Scrapy tool is free and open-source, but Smart Proxy, Splash, and Splash tools will cost you extra.
Chrome’s Webscraper.io extension allows you to scrape content from social media sites such as comments, user posts, and friend lists.
The Webscraper.io extension can be used to scrape any data on any social media website.
It works with the same point-and-click interface as other visual scrapers and is optimized for the modern web.
In addition, you can create site maps using different types of selectors. This allows you to customize data extraction for different site structures.
Jarvee is a top social media automation tool on the market. It supports the most popular social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Jarvee is well-known for its ability to automate its actions, increasing reach, and rapid growth. However, many don’t know that it can also scrape social media data like comments, posts, and followers lists.
This tool can be used to scrape Facebook and Instagram. Jarvee, a Windows-based tool, will require running it on a Windows VPS/VM machine.
Why scrape social media platforms?
Social media data is the most comprehensive and dynamic source of information about human behavior.
This data offers social scientists and business professionals new ways to understand individuals, groups, and societies while allowing them to discover the vast wealth of information hidden within the data.
A survey of techniques, tools, and platforms points out that the early business adopters of social media data analysis were typical companies in the retail and finance industries, who applied social media analytics to harness brand awareness, customer service improvement, marketing strategies and even fraud detection.
You might be wondering why anyone would want to scrape social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Of course, each web scraper will have its reasons, but here are the main reasons you should scrape social media websites.
You can use social media platforms to view the contact information of users, which you can then scrape and use for leads.
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the top targets for lead generation and business prospect finding.
LinkedIn and Facebook users have many contacts and professional details that are publicly available.
You can use these details to create leads.
What does a group think about certain ideas and topics? To find out, all you have to do is to scrape discussions threads and hashtags on the topic and then use that data to perform sentimental analysis.
You can use Twitter to scrape tweets about yourself and perform sentimental analyses to determine if you will be voted.
Marketing and Social Research
Social studies and research are not complete without the use of sentiment analysis. Social researchers and marketers need data to understand their customers’ needs and opinions about their company and competitors.
Many buyers will use social media to vent their frustrations and praise products. Social media scraping can be used to expel terrorists and other criminals.
Social media scraping data can also be used to train Artificial Intelligence systems.
Target market segmentation
Wikipedia defines a target market as “an individual, household, or organization that is targeted by an organization and who designs, implements, and maintains a marketing strategy to meet their needs and preferences.”
You can analyze social media data to determine who and when you should market your products and services.
Targeted markets will help you maximize your marketing ROI.
Monitoring online branding
Online branding monitoring allows you to hear your customers’ voices, as well as the opinions of your industry KOLs, competitors, and the press.
This is more than just about your product; it’s about your customer service, sales process, social interaction, and other touchpoints where customers interact with your brand.
Identifying market trends
It is crucial to identify market trends to adjust your business strategy and keep your business moving with the changing direction of your industry.
Market trend analysis can be achieved with the help of big data automation tools.
It is simply the comparison and tracking of industry influencers, publications, and other data over some time.
You will agree that there are many tools available to extract content from social media sites. However, your imagination is the limit.
There are many things you can do with data from social media. I must emphasize that you can develop your tools or hire someone to help you with any custom needs for scraping social media.
I hope you will find these top social media data scraping tools useful for your need as they have been carefully selected after several tests.
Ideally, it is best to try out more than one of the reviewed data extraction tools before making an informed decision.
However, you won’t go wrong by choosing any of the best social media scraping tools for data extraction reviewed in this article.
Have you tried anyone earlier? Or do you have any other recommendations?
Share your experience in the comment section below!
Scraping tools are one of the coolest things about social media. I suppose my saying “coolest” isn’t appropriate but as an avid coffee drinker, I’m allowed a little bit of exaggeration from time to time.