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More industries to Adopt Alternative Web Data in 2020 (Includes interview)

According to Gary Read (, taking the lead from the financial industry, more industries from online retail to travel organizations are looking to web alternative data solutions to uniquely combine data sets to uncover customer insights, market intel, competitive advantage and trends from the web.

For example, analysts at Opimas note that as the range of use cases for web data integration rapidly increases, so has spending on alternative data – with spending to hit nearly $7 billion in 2020.

In terms of 2020, Reed looks at the following themes:

Companies will become bolder in web data analytics initiatives after LinkedIn v. hiQ resolution

Here Reed notes: “The ruling in the recent LinkedIn v HiQ case established the right to collect and analyze public web data. With the court’s ruling behind us, many companies will likely become bolder in their initiatives to collect web data from external sources in 2020 and beyond. Now that businesses feel validated that web data collection is not illegal, they will take advantage of the opportunities provided by web data integration and the competitive advantage they can gain.”

The Real Estate Industry to Adopt Alternative Data in Increasing Numbers in 2020

With this, Reed days: “Now that the retail and travel industries have recognized the usefulness of web data to provide a competitive edge within their sectors, we can expect real estate companies of varying sizes to begin to capitalize on the widely available public data that is available on the world wide web. Due to the similarities between the real estate, travel and retail industries, there are quite a few ways that real estate businesses can initially take advantage of web data in 2020 – revenue optimization, consumer sentiment, competitor pricing, and more – with additional opportunities yet to be explored.”

Organizations Are Getting “Smart” about Data Analytics in 2020 – Adoption of Smart WDI Tools to Increase in 2020

Reed’s analysis is: “Today, organizations are collecting web data and delivering it, uncleaned and disorganized, to data scientists who then spend countless hours preparing and standardizing the data for analysis – time that could otherwise have been spent uncovering priceless business intelligence. While, many organizations are excited by the potential of web data to help them obtain competitive insights, they sometimes neglect the full data analytics process. Traditional web scraping services merely collect data but they don’t follow through on the analysis.

Therefore, in 2020, many organizations will begin implementing smart web data integration tools with automated capabilities to clean, standardize and present the intel to the data science team – negating the need for manual preparation of the collected data and creating more time for insightful analysis.”

Keeping Data Verified and Safe in 2020 – Automated Web Data Verification will be the Norm in 2020

According to Reed: “The fact is, less than 60% of today’s web traffic is human, and businesses that have been using competitor web data to gain valuable information are doubtless wary to the fact that their competitors are performing the same type of web data reconnaissance in turn. While web scraping technologies have been adopted by many organizations, in 2020, organizations will increasingly begin to incorporate additional security measures to analyze the quality of the data to ensure its validity. This new trend will ensure that organizations are able to identify anomalies within the datasets and thus, gain more valuable business insights.”

Travel Organizations to Widely Adopt Web Data Insights in 2020

Turning his attention to travel, Reed says: “As the travel industry becomes increasingly digital and varied (from ride sharing to hospitality to attractions and more), it also becomes progressively more complicated, and as such, travel businesses must utilize web data insights to remain competitive. Remember when everyone booked travel through their travel agent? The internet has revolutionized the way people vacation, and data driven insights are strategic ways to ensure travel businesses remain relevant. Travel organizations all need premium data at-scale to suss all this out and build a taxonomy so that the industry can better understand their markets and competition. Therefore, in order to stay competitive, travel organizations will be adopting web data integration tools by the droves in 2020.”

Educational and Political Organizations beginning to Capitalize on Web Data

With this final point, education, Reed predicts: “Revealing customer sentiment is one of the most useful and insightful capabilities of web data analytics. Higher education and political organizations are both currently vying for the favor of younger demographics – which almost universally use the web and social media daily, if not hourly. The ability of web data to uncover the opinions of the younger demographic is invaluable to educational and political institutions, and although their specific industry use cases for web data are more cyclical than those of the retail, travel and finance industries, we can expect both to utilize web data to expand their reach and revenue in 2020 and beyond. This is especially the case with 2020 set to be such a tumultuous political season.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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