Digital procedures play an important role in modern business, as they generate lots of valuable information that can be used to improve organizations and advance their goals. Thus, in 2023, website data collection will be a staple for most growing firms in various industries. However, as with any craft, there are bad, good, and better ways to collect website data. Identifying the most effective and profitable data collection best practices makes a huge difference on the bottom line. Let’s look at what the experience of various companies can teach us about data collection so far.
What Kind of Data Is Typically Collected?
For decades, businesses have used various sources of information for gaining sales intelligence, boosting marketing performance, or spying on competition. These sources, however, have been limited by the technologies of the times.
Traditional data used in business and investment has come either from the news, focus groups, and other research methods or from companies reporting their results. Today, we have alternative data sources that are wide in range but have one crucial common feature. They are all enabled by modern technology.
The most available of these technologies is, of course, the internet. Therefore, website data collection is primarily utilized by companies to acquire data made accessible by the world wide web and can supplement the information they already have.
The following types of data are usually collected:
- Online behavior data: Data points on where online users click, how much time they spend on particular web pages, where in the funnel they drop off, and similar crucial information
- Social media sentiment: All about how much and in what way a product, service, or brand is talked about on social media platforms
- Other online reviews: Ranging from product and brand reviews to anonymous information on the employer by employees
- Various B2B data types: Firmographic and technographic information, as well as online job postings and anything else that can tell you something about a firm’s current stance or future intentions
- Contact lists for lead generation
- Product information and prices from e-commerce sites
The Benefits of Data Collection
As mentioned, of all the alternative data sources, online sources play the most important role when it comes to data collection in 2023. The list of benefits could be a separate article, but here are the main reasons for companies to get what they need online.
- The availability of data: Nowhere else could you find as much accessible data as on the internet. And every company has at least some access to web data collection tools.
- The speed of data gathering: As opposed to in-person methods of data collection, online data gathering is fast and efficient.
- Fact-based decision-making: When you need to improve something about your website or sales funnel, you want facts instead of guessing. Online data collection shows hard numbers on what works and what doesn’t work in terms of converting online users.
- Real-time information: Everything happens so fast in the world today, so that traditional data might get outdated before you get to use it. Luckily, everything is reported online as soon as it happens, thus no buying or investment signals are missed when collecting data this way.
- It is the most resilient method of data collection: Global pandemics or wars affect business on all levels, including its ability to gather information – except, of course, when information gathering is done online.
Although website data collection is extremely beneficial, it has not completely replaced other methods of data gathering. Companies still utilize focus groups, in-person interviews, and in-store tests to determine the best course of action.
All of these methods can be valuable as long as you follow best practices and do data collection the right way.
Top 7 Data Collection Best Practices
Data collection in 2023 is more versatile and fast-changing than ever before. Thus, make sure to keep yourself informed on the developments of data technology. At the moment, however, the following tips and best practices should come in handy when gathering valuable information.
1. Define the task beforehand
Blind data collection is a waste of time. Before gathering information, you need to know what questions you are trying to answer, what data types you need to answer them, and what you are going to do with the data to get to the insights.
2. Prioritize quality over quantity
More data does not make you more informed if it is irrelevant. And large volumes of data cause additional problems when it comes to storing and analysis. Thus, collect the data that you know you can use. For example, instead of getting feedback from everyone and anyone you can, concentrate on your target audience when surveying customers.
3. Utilize automated website data collection tools and methods
Automation is the key to efficient and error-free data collection. Web crawling, web scraping, and real-time APIs are your main ways to access the data you need. Make use of them to get the data that is fresh and most relevant to your purposes.
4. Validate and evaluate your data
Employ data validation procedures to check if crucial fields are filled in your datasets. For example, if you gather data for e-mail marketing, validate that the e-mail address fields are filled correctly. Evaluate data samples to determine the quality of the datasets. Check for errors, redundancies, and bad formatting.
5. Label and categorize your datasets
A common way to lose valuable data points is by misplacing them. Make sure that you know how your data is going to be stored. Establish cataloging and labeling practices to prevent data from disappearing in endless data swamps.
6. Protect your procedures from data breaches
Your website data collection and other procedures must in no way harm the security and privacy of sensitive data. Thus, establish robust cybersecurity procedures and protocols. Make sure that everyone involved on your side is aware of legal and technical requirements for safe data collection.
7. Consider using the services of professional data providers
There are plenty of firms specializing in data gathering, cleaning, and structuring for business purposes. Consider using these services to get the most out of data. It might often prove to be the cheapest and fastest option since webpage data collection can be quite challenging.
The Risks of Using Data in Business
The legal risks and technical challenges of website data collection raise serious concerns for businesses. If you break privacy regulations, it may lead to lawsuits and irreparable damage to your reputation.
In addition, not all firms have access to state-of-the-art tools that improve data-gathering procedures. Without the right tools and expertise, the benefits of these procedures diminish, and one cannot get the most value out of them.
Such challenges make data providers all the more popular. Businesses that are not prepared to mitigate data-gathering risks turn to professionals to ensure the quality and usability of the end product.