Phyllo Vs. Scrapers - Why Platform API Over Third-Party Data Scrapers

This article will discuss why choosing a platform API over data scraping is the way to go.

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In today's digital world, data and data extraction play a huge role in crafting a winning business strategy. 

When creators create, they want to know how many people have viewed or liked their content, among many other metrics. When developers build creator tools, they want to be able to access and provide all this essential data to the creators and businesses that work in this domain in the simplest way possible.

Nevertheless, it’s not just what data but how you access it also plays a massive role in determining your success.

Today, there are two ways you can go about fetching valuable creator data - use the Platform API or scrape the data using third-party data agencies (TPAs).

Scraping is the easiest way of gathering data, be it creator follower/subscriber count or comments from a creator’s recent post. However, scraping data lacks creator consent and is often vulnerable to getting banned by the source platform and/or tracked by search engine bots. 

On the other hand, platform APIs allow you to perform tasks efficiently with many advantages - from data accuracy to compliance with privacy laws to creator consent.

This article will discuss why choosing a platform API over data scraping is the way to go.

Let’s first understand the basics: First-party data vs. third-party data

The prime differences between first-party and third-party data are in the process of collection and who the collector is.

First-party data is collected directly from the source platforms to understand users/followers better. This data is usually accessible by leveraging the APIs that most social media platforms today provide. For instance, Instagram’s Graph and Basic API, YouTube API, etc.

This user-consented, accurate data fuels better growth and trust in the creator economy.

Third-party data is usually collected by scraping the web for any and every publicly available information. It involves collecting data from websites, cleaning it up, and organizing it into a structured form that can be easily analyzed. The problem with this approach is that it can often lead to duplicates, broken links, and inaccurate information.

Here's what Brandon Brown, the CEO and Co-Founder, Grin announced recently -

Why is first-party data your best bet?

The first-party data from a platform API is much more accurate than anything from scraping the web. The reasons for this are simple -

  1. You can only scrape what is publicly available on the internet. If the data isn't public, it will not be scrapable. With APIs (depending on the platform), you can access many more data points crucial to you and your business.
  2. You get real-time, reliable data when you access data directly from a platform like Facebook or TikTok using their dedicated APIs. This means better quality and fewer errors. 
  3. Third-party data is notoriously hard to clean, verify and integrate with other datasets – especially when those other datasets are from other third parties! This makes it tricky for creators and businesses to use the information that third parties have collected on their behalf.
  4. The most significant difference between these two ways of gathering data is control over privacy. When using an API, there’s usually an agreement with the platform and/or creator about using their data. 

While platform APIs are one of the best ways to go about data extraction in the creator economy, accessing multiple platform APIs simultaneously will take a lot of work. You’ll have to dedicate significant time, energy, and engineering resources to build the entire data infrastructure to fuel your business to access first-party, creator-consented data.

Read - Build vs. Buy - Social Media API Integrations For The Creator Economy

Check out Phyllo APIs that empower the creator economy

How Phyllo works

In this race of building the most desired creator product, the additional burden of building the data infrastructure can be a distraction. 

Phyllo is a data gateway to creator economy platforms. We provide you with the necessary data infrastructure so you can focus on building your product.

Using Phyllo, your users can grant access to their data within your app. Once granted access, you can fetch details of a creator's identity, income, and activity & engagement on platforms (like Instagram, YouTube, Substack, and many more) using our REST APIs.

Phyllo Vs. TPAs: Why is Phyllo your best creator data infrastructure solution?

Phyllo’s data solution is more depth focussed while TPAs are more width focussed

  • Public data vs. private data
    Phyllo provides you with first-party, creator-consented data, including post-login/private data. For example, Phyllo provides data attributes visible only to the creators from the platforms such as -
    • Views
    • Impressions and Reach
    • Audience demographics
    • Content consumption metrics - (Video view duration, saves, shares)
    • Direct content URLs - Enabling you to import content into your platforms easily
  • Such attributes are either not available from scraping or are in derived form, meaning they will vary from one third-party data agency (TPA) to the other.
  • ‘Approximate mass data’ vs. ‘Accurate data’
    Phyllo’s data infrastructure is better when you need highly accurate and credible data from a creator since we get this data from a trustworthy source - platform APIs. 
  • Ephemeral data extraction
    Ephemeral data like Instagram stories are one of the leading formats of content creation, but their engagement metrics (number of likes, shares, views, impressions, reach, etc.) are not publicly available and hence are not provided by third-party data scrapers. However, they are provided by Instagram Graph APIs, and since Phyllo provides coverage on that, we are able to give the engagement metrics for it.
  • Audience data
    Phyllo’s audience data comes from the platform APIs and gives the data that a creator sees post logging into their dashboard. TPAs run approximations to get this data.
  • Data decay
    Phyllo offers higher data refresh frequencies. We typically refresh a creator's data at a frequency of 24 hours or sooner, while TPAs that manage databases of millions of creators refresh their data at much lower frequencies.

Phyllo is a developer-first solution

  • Better performance
    Since we do not work against the source platforms and rather work with them, Phyllo’s data pipe performance is far superior to those derived from data scraping, which is discouraged by the source platforms.
  • One universal API
    Phyllo provides only one API to integrate with all platforms. TPAs provide different APIs for different platforms.
  • Webhooks
    Phyllo provides webhooks so that developers can know when a creator has updated their data rather than shooting in the dark. This also allows developers to improve their page load time when data is being requested. TPA API offerings only support async ‘on-demand’ data requests that take time to fetch.
  • Better documentation
    Phyllo is created as an API tool for developers and has a better developer experience built at its core. TPAs were designed as business/marketing-facing data tools and were not optimized for developer experience.
  • Continuous connection with creator accounts
    Phyllo maintains a direct continuous connection with accounts. This enables you to get regular updates via webhooks on creator accounts, content items, comments, and demographics.

Phyllo is consent-driven

  • Phyllo complies with GDPR, CCPA, and other fundamental data privacy laws. We maintain a record of the creator’s consent to share their data.
  • Our account connection experience has been created after user research with 100+ creators. We have learned their prime concerns when connecting their account and assure them with the right messaging to improve conversion rates.
  • Phyllo has an in-built consent architecture. This means no data is taken without the creator’s explicit consent. This is extremely useful since today’s creators are very concerned about their data.

Access creator-consented data with Phyllo’s universal API

Leveraging major social media APIs for creator data has grown to become a necessity for most businesses today. However, integrating so many different APIs can be a real task

Phyllo helps simplify and package this process into a single easy-to-integrate API that provides you with an efficient data infrastructure. We aim to be a catalyst in building your business in the creator economy. 

We are constantly improving our APIs so you can get the best creator economy data infrastructure with just a few clicks.

Schedule a call to learn more about how Phyllo can empower your business in the creator economy.

Want to test the waters before you go ahead? Sign up for a free account to access creator data with Phyllo APIs.

Hiba Fathima

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