Review monitoring is a crucial part of any customer-focused business strategy. To offer your customer the best product out there, you need to constantly adapt and evolve to meet their demands.
You need to know what they think about your product, your competitor’s product, and what it is they look for in a product in the first place. And that’s where review monitoring comes in.
But what many businesses don’t realize is the importance of proxies in this process. Without the use of proxies, your review monitoring efforts are likely to die an early death. So why are proxies so important?
You’ll find out below. We’ll explain what review monitoring is, how it works, why it’s essential for your business, and why you need proxies to do your review monitoring the right way. Let’s go!
What is review monitoring?
Imagine you can easily monitor consumer sentiment and identify their wants and needs; their struggles and pain points. All of it readily available for you to analyze and use to your advantage. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
That’s what review monitoring does. It allows you to scrape review sites and other places where customers leave feedback so you can keep an eye on what the customer actually thinks of your product or service.
Based on this information, you can make better decisions regarding your product offering as well as your marketing efforts. It can also help you spot negative feedback so you can swiftly act before the problem grows, for example when consumers are reporting a product malfunction.
Why review monitoring is essential for your business
According to research conducted by BrightLocal, a whopping 87% of consumers have a look at online reviews before purchasing a product or service. Another statistic from the same research shows that 72% of consumers in the United States have written a review themselves.
By monitoring these reviews you don’t just get a look inside the mind of your customer, but it also allows you to reply to them straight away. This boosts your business’s reputation as a responsive and customer-centric company and helps increase your customer lifetime value by building lasting relationships.
Other benefits of online review monitoring include:
- Attract new customers that show a high-intent to purchase similar products
- Increase conversion rates by addressing and improving online reviews
- Boost your (local) SEO with online reviews, known to be a Google ranking factor
You can see why review monitoring is so essential in today’s digital landscape. So let’s have a look at how it actually works.
How does review monitoring work?
The beauty of automated review monitoring is that it allows you to check hundreds of websites at the same time, rather than having to visit each review site and platform separately.
This process works by utilizing web scraping techniques. You can either create your own web crawler or bot, or you can use a review monitoring tool to do the technical side for you.
Either way, review monitoring works by instructing a bot to crawl (more on crawling below) certain pages that contain relevant customer reviews – like Google Shopping, Trustpilot, Google News and many other APIs – to then scrape the review data from these pages.
The acquired data will then be reformatted and presented to you in some shape or form, depending on your bot or tool. For example, many tools present the content scraped from all these different review sites on one easy-to-interpret dashboard, often allowing you to reply to reviews directly inside the tool.
Importance of proxies for review monitoring
As we’ve seen, review monitoring is done by scraping websites. But to ensure you can scrape these sites without being blocked, you need proxies.
You see, to access (crawl) a page a user (your bot) sends a request to a server (the website). But since you want your bot to access a lot of pages, it’s going to send a lot of requests to the server.
Websites often easily recognize this as non-human behavior and they will block your bot and its unique IP address to put a halt to this scraping. Once blocked, your bot won’t be able to scrape the site anymore. That is, unless it uses proxies.
Proxies serve as intermediaries between your bot and the website. Your bot will send the request to the proxy, which sends the request to the website. Since the proxy will have a different IP address than your bot, the website won’t recognize it and thus it won’t block the request.
This way, your bot can still access the same information, even if its IP address has been blocked. By using proxies to keep changing your bot’s perceived IP address – a process called IP rotation – your bot can keep scraping the website without being blocked for un-human browsing behavior.
This prevents your bot from losing access to the sites you want to scrape for your review monitoring efforts. Aside from that, you can use proxies from around the world, which means you can gain access to geographically specific (and sometimes limited) content and reviews as well.
As such, using proxies is essential when you want to monitor online reviews for your business.