Buzzword Breakdown: Should You Be Using Social Media Scraping?

This blog is part of a series where we dissect some of the marketing industry’s most buzz-worthy words. Curious to see what we’ll cover next? Be sure to continue to check back for more!

Social media, while always considered a strong tool for reaching target audiences, has truly boomed in recent months. Largely in part due to the pandemic, we’ve watched social media unite, inform, and inspire users everywhere. For many brands, there is no doubt that their target audience lives and consumes media on these channels daily. Most are on a constant quest to find new and innovative ways to reach these audiences, beyond the traditional targeting means.

A growing trend is social media scraping. While not new, this tactic has been getting a lot of attention in the social world. Below, we’ll break down what it is and what it could mean for your marketing strategy.

What Is Social Media Scraping?

Web scraping has existed almost since the World Wide Web was invented in the early 1990s. Often referred to as data scraping or email scraping, today it is most commonly known as social media data scraping—and involves using a snippet of code to capture and extract user data (e.g., name, email, etc.) from social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Is It Legal?

It’s not illegal. Many situations are judged on a case-by-case basis, and you’ll often see social platforms suing companies for misuse of data. At the same time, there are entire companies who have developed robust tools to help you with data scraping, so there is some legitimacy to it. In the end, it comes down to the concept of publicly available data, and what limits are on it.

The Pros and Cons of Social Media Scraping

Pros:

Cons:

While social media data scraping may be tempting based on the benefits, we recommend brands approach it with caution. At the end of the day, you don’t want to put your brand, or your audience, at risk. Be sure to research and vet any potential tools you plan to use, ensuring the data you’re harvesting is acquired in the most appropriate and secure ways.

Interested in more tips on boosting your social media strategy? Get in touch; we’d love to help.

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Nobody likes to hear people squawk about marketing. So, we wrote it all down for you.

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