Why Scrape Forum Data?

Online forums are probably how social networking platforms came into existence. While initially, these groups revolved around technical topics, they expanded across numerous categories as their popularity increased. Forums evolved into the form of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

While billions across the world now use social networking websites, forums have gained a significant user base. Data scraping services can help you scrape forum data, helping you discover valuable insights directly coming from your user audience. 

Why Scrape Forum Data?

Web scraping is the process of extracting data from websites. The use of this technology is witnessing widespread popularity for businesses dependent on their consumer audience. Some of the reasons are listed below:

Vast Amounts of User-Generated Content

Analyzing the social presence of a business is critical for monitoring the reputation of a company. This is one of the primary reasons popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide brands with a host of analytics tools. In addition, discussion forums are very valuable with regard to social analytics as they generally feature highly focused user-generated content. 

Understand Customer Trends

In these forums, the members often provide their candid views about the topic of discussion. While the comments from members are generally unstructured, the data can still be extracted for many different social data types, which businesses can use to leverage and improve decision-making. From identifying trends, sentiment, brand awareness and extracting other valuable data, these hyper-focused forums can be helpful to businesses in many different ways. 

As for the impact such forums can have, you might remember the recent GameStop short squeeze in January 2021 that helped the stock peak $500 from a paltry $17 in a matter of a few days. While many hedge funds lost millions of dollars, many others, including retail traders, made huge gains. Users of a subreddit forum primarily triggered this short squeeze. 

What are different data fields that can be scraped from Online Forum Websites?

Web forums have a specific structure where the platform consists of threads, posts, and boards. While this structure is generally consistent across most forums, the layout of each can be very different from one another. As a result, a one-stop solution for scraping web forums is often not very practical. 

A web scraping solution like ScrapeHero enables you to customize your scraping requirements as per your business objectives and target websites. It is up to a business to decide whether they want to scrape specific data types or collect as much data as possible across categories. Some of the most commonly scraped data categories are as follows:

  • Topic
  • Community Name/Thread
  • Username
  • Date published
  • Total number of responses
  • Total upvotes and shares
  • Response text 

Once the data is collected, multiple quality checks are performed before it is cleaned and delivered into a preferred data format. Alternatively, the data can also be delivered in raw form if needed. Based on the data, businesses can extract valuable information and optimize their marketing strategy.

How Can Businesses Use the Data Scraped from Web Forums?

The data scraped from a web forum can be used for something as simple as finding inspiration for an upcoming business website, a blog title, or something as complex as sentiment analysis and identifying market trends. Here is a quick overview of the different ways in which this data can be used:

Types of Markets

Forum scraped data can be used by multiple domains. For example, real estate companies can set up custom alerts on the latest listings. Recruitment agencies or HR departments can monitor online job boards to keep track of available candidates and new openings. Hotels can use data from social forums to monitor customer experience and feedback.

Track Followers and Customers

Forum data can be used to identify consumers talking about a specific brand, or products and services offered by the brand on related forums. The geographic location of people, interests, and demographics can be found with the help of web scraping. Based on this information, a business can tweak its marketing strategies to target specific consumers. 

Quick Overview of Market Reputation

While social platforms such as Facebook offer many different types of tools to help businesses better understand their target audience, nothing matches the candid view of people on web forums. The comments, shares, and unique reactions on specific topics can provide a detailed overview of the market reputation of a business. 

Improve Pricing Strategy

Compared to social networking websites, people are more open to discuss the prices of products and services on web forums. This data can be beneficial for a business working on its pricing strategies. Forums allow you to hear from your target audience directly. This will offer a more realistic overview of their expectations and requirements. 

Launch New Products or Services

People can also be found talking about features they expect from a particular product on these forums. As this information comes from the target audience, businesses can use them to offer products and services aligned to customer expectations. The forums are also an excellent place to identify and monitor market trends to improve your business offerings further. 

Competitor Analysis

Just like a business can use the data scraped from web forums to understand its reputation and market position better, it can do the same for its competitors. What people say about other brands, products or services, can be very valuable for a company to improve its business and marketing strategies. 

Data-Based Research

The data scraped from forums can also be used for academic research purposes by social scientists to study customer behavior. Online discussion sites can provide valuable research insights and qualitative findings to support quantitative data-based analysis. Researchers can use data from these forums as a near-substitute to focus group discussions, providing advantages like better geographical reach and natural selection of participants.

Get Forum Data using ScrapeHero

Businesses can use forum data to build predictive AI and ML models for sentiment analysis, optimize current campaigns, develop new campaigns, analyze consumer behavior, and more. Web scraping services like ScrapeHero can provide custom automated API solutions to provide scraped data from social forums and integrate it seamlessly into your business apps or websites. The pre-built scrapers and easy-to-follow tutorials provided by ScrapeHero small and large-scale businesses to gather data from websites and channels in a cost-effective manner.

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