Advertising & Marketing

Automating Without an API

Avetis Grigoryan
Senior Developer
September 7, 2023
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September 7, 2023
6
min read

Automating Without an API

Avetis Grigoryan
Senior Developer
Table of contents

Say no to chaotic work. Automate your tasks now.

Automating Without an API

In an era where everything is getting automated, marketers often find the functionality of APIs limited. While APIs have boundaries, a human's imagination does not, especially when it comes to eliminating routine tasks. Sometimes, necessary tools lack an API altogether. That's where headless browsers enter the game, serving as digital assistants. Let's talk more about them.

What's a Headless Browser?

Imagine a regular internet browser like Chrome or Firefox. Now, remove all the visible interface parts - buttons, address bar, bookmarks. What's left? The "brains" that can navigate the internet, open websites, and interact with them. This is what we call a "headless" browser. It can automate various tasks on websites without displaying visual content and it can do this at breakneck speed. A robot, not a human, controls such a browser.

Some of the Possibilities

Here's a short list of areas where using a headless browser can be handy. Keep in mind that this tool can handle an identical pool of tasks that you could manually do while sitting in front of a screen with open website tabs.

  1. Data Collection: If you want to know what products have been added to a competitor's website or what new articles are published on your favorite blog, a headless browser can automatically visit these websites and collect the necessary information.
  2. Ad Testing: You can check how your ad appears to users from different countries or how it displays on different devices. Then, take a screenshot of the result and send it to you for review.
  3. Automatic Content Publication: For instance, if you want to post on social media at a specific time, but the social network lacks an API for that, a headless browser can do it for you.
  4. Competitor Monitoring: Not just gathering information about new products, but also tracking prices, promotions, or other marketing activities.
  5. SEO Checking: Automatic web page analysis for search engine optimization to ensure your site meets the latest requirements.

These possibilities allow marketers to save time and resources and be more efficient, even if the platform lacks an API. Headless browsers are becoming a powerful tool in the arsenal of a modern marketer.

Building Automations

While the headless browser is the key product for some startups, like browserless, Latenode, a visual low-code automation platform, offers it as just one out of hundreds of available tools – as a separate module that you can integrate into your scripts.

Besides the Headless browser, the platform also has a JavaScript module that allows you to include your own code snippets. These two blocks complement each other and let you build interesting scenarios. Now, let's look at a marketing-related example.

Scenario Example

Given the above, on the Latenode platform, we can set up automatic brand mention tracking on social networks. We'll need 6 blocks and follow a simple linear sequence.

  • Schedule: The scenario is triggered automatically every hour, initiating the mention tracking process.
  • JavaScript (Request Preparation): This block creates a request based on brand keywords to systematically search for mentions on social networks.
  • Headless Browser: Using the created request, this block "visits" social networks, searches for brand keyword mentions, and gathers detailed information about found mentions.
  • JavaScript (Data Processing): Here, the Headless Browser block's collected information is analyzed. This can determine the sentiment of the mention and other important features.
  • Send a Text Message: If the mention matches certain criteria (like negative sentiment or mention from an influential account), this block sends a notification to the responsible manager or customer service team via Telegram.

This is just one example showcasing the flexibility of the architecture to accommodate any needs, including those beyond marketing tasks. With the Headless browser, you can engage in parsing, scraping, web app testing, screenshot and PDF generation, rendering static versions of dynamic webpages, and automating a myriad of routine web tasks.

Hopefully, we've given you a good grasp of this tool. Let your imagination and a few Chat GPT requests for code generation do the rest, and you'll create universal "headless" assistants that will roam the expanses of the internet and bring you unlimited benefits!

Currently, the platform (latenode.com) is in beta, offers free access for all interested parties, and eagerly listens to user feedback! Also, don't forget to join our thriving community at Discord. See you there!

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