Table of Contents
- Concerns about the TikTok Data
- Good News about TikTok Data Collection
- Why Scrape TikTok
- Data Fields Available for TikTok Data Mining
- Tips on How to Use Python for TikTok Posts’ and Comments’ Scraping
- Off-the-shelf Proxy Solutions for TikTok Data Scraping
- TikTok Data Scraping Sample Cases
TikTok exploded not so long ago, but already in the first quarter of 2020, it became the most downloaded application worldwide. The popularity of this social network has only been skyrocketing ever since 2018. As of February 2021, it had over 2 Billion downloads worldwide and over 100 million monthly active users on Android and iOS devices combined.
Being a social media platform, no wonder TikTok uses data and collects it. That’s why it arouses concerns about data privacy.
Concerns about the TikTok Data
When the app runs on a device, a user gives permission to tap data on it, so the likes and dislikes, friends and pastimes of a user, locations, patterns of life, and consumer behavior details are collected.
On the one hand, the US authorities are concerned that TikTok’s parent company is in China, and it doesn’t adhere to American privacy laws. On the other hand, the users at times worry that they are being spied. No more than by Facebook or Google, we would say.
Still, there are differences: the users can watch TikTok videos without registering, but when creating and publishing the content, they need to share their personal details, age, e-mail address, and phone number. What is more, TikTok collects data transmitted by third-party social network providers, tech and behavioral information about its users, and their message content and phone book information. It makes the extent to which TikTok mines user data simply extraordinary. It can collect as many as 50 kinds of details from users aged 13 and older.
That’s why people responsible for national security or trade secrets would better avoid making themselves a target and stay off the application.
Good News about TikTok Data Collection
At the same time, we have good news for those who work with data, need it for business or any other purposes. If a service accumulates data to monetize it, this data can be scraped, processed, and analyzed for business benefit.
We are not villains, so let’s look at the opportunity of TikTok data mining as to the wonderful perspective to stay within a legal frame and bring your business to a new level. At present, TikTok is uncharted territory if it goes about social listening or social intelligence. However, there are some tools and APIs available for TikTok data scraping. We’ll speak about them a bit later. Now let’s deal with the benefits TikTok data can bring you.
Why Scrape TikTok
In fact, TikTok is a modern treasure trove of data and marketing opportunities. A savvy digital marketer is able to create an effective growth hack or marketing strategy for hot leads generation and business development based on the information collected from this social network.
The key usage of TikTok social intelligence is marketing research and influencer marketing.
Even though lots of trending videos on TikTok are meme-focused, “normal people” also spend much time in this network talking about interesting experiences and important issues: life at school/university, ongoing development, diseases they live with, struggles with employment, and much more.
So market research opportunities in this field are plentiful, allowing us to investigate and better understand the customer journey for the variety of products and services.
TikTok data mining and analysis also allow us to effectively identify influencers on critical topics, which can be extremely valuable for many brands (make-up and clothing being the leading ones). Food and beverage, apparel, pet care, lifestyle are the industries for which TikTok can become an absolute gold mine. Higher education can also effectively identify student TikTok influencers in various spheres and popularize educational trends.
There is enormous value in the zeitgeist of consumers’ comprehension. Right now, that’s TikTok, so scraping it is a valuable opportunity to use and investigate.
Data Fields Available for TikTok Data Mining
We’ve mentioned above that TikTok can gather around 50 kinds of details from a user. With the help of TikTok analysis, you can estimate video views, account’s followers/following growth, engagement rate, etc.
When it comes to TikTok data mining, the following field can be scraped:
- TikTok Title
- User ID
- User Bio
- ID Video Title
- URL of the Video
- Popular Creator Tag
- # Videos
- # Followers
- # Following
- # Likes
- Instagram ID
- YouTube ID
- Phone Number
Some fields can be scraped on customer requirements. In fact, unlimited post metadata can be extracted from Hashtags, Trends, Users, or Music-ID pages from the TikTok website and the application.
Some advanced data scraping services offer comment scraping from TikTok or even video comments, likes, and views regular monitoring.
However, there are some tricks to scrape TikTok data yourself.
TikTok official API
TikTok has a single HTTP endpoint and provides it to the developers. It helps them to fetch the embedded code for different videos. To access this official API and read the instructions on how to embed it, you can check out TikTok’s Developers page. However, the API is not very extensive, thus to research posts and comments in TikTok, it’s better to look for alternatives.
APIs that are not official may become one of such alternatives since they allow users to access more data and come with less restrictions.
RapidAPI’s TikTok API
TikTok API from RapidAPI is one of the most popular solutions for TikTok, allowing you to scrape trending and music pages, extract user and hashtag metadata, allowing you to pull user followers, following metadata and so forth.
Lots of data can be extracted from TikTok with Python, like, for instance, video height and width, video descriptions, authors’ nicknames, play addresses, video length, and so forth.
Python can be helpful to scrape the TikTok API, but Flask will be required for the purpose. It’s an easy-to-set-up microframework for web development, with Python used for web apps setting up. Make sure you have downloaded and installed it.
It’s essential to keep track of selenium requests, and its retries variable can help you for the purpose since it shows the number of failed requests.
It’s a well-known fact that headless running of selenium may help reduce the load on the local machine CPU. However, it increases the chances of being detected and flagged by TikTok’s admins. So, be careful.
Requests and BeautifulSoup
These two packages are also needed for the TikTok scraping with Python. Requests serves to make different types of HTML in your algorithm, while BeautifulSoup makes HTML parsing a user-friendly process.
When using proxies, it’s better to use the provider who allows you to whitelist your local IP. Request a random residential proxy that operates without usernames and passwords to enter; it will also prevent you from being caught by TikTok’s anti-bot system.
When scraping TikTok with Python, sentiment analysis is reasonable. With it, you can find out how an account is perceived on the site: in a negative, positive or neutral way. This procedure helps to foresee and sidestep specific PR issues and much more.
Off-the-shelf Proxy Solutions for TikTok Data Scraping
Frankly speaking, finding a reliable and cost-effective proxy provider for social media and TikTok scraping is a challenge. We have picked some solutions out to help you automate your user interactions and data scraping.
It’s a proxy solution aimed at simplifying public data scraping. All you need is to configure your crawlers to send requests to Scraper API. In return, you will get the HTML response with reliable TikTok information you need.
Scraper API is a perfect solution for large data extraction tasks from TikTok, whether it’s video content or topics. However, it is unable to extract profile details behind the login.
Scraper API allows scraping up to a thousand TikTok profiles a month for free, making it the most cost-effective solution. However, for more extensive tasks, there are four paid packages to purchase.
SmartProxy is a top-notch residential proxies provider to use with various automation solutions you prefer. The proxies are offered from almost 200 locations. It works with most social media tools and bots, making it ideal for growth hackers and marketing automation.
Unfortunately, it does not have a free option, and the cheapest paid plan starts at $75 per month for 5 GB.
OxyLabs is a big player in the market of residential proxies, so it’s an excellent option for social media scraping and automating, TikTok in particular.
The company offers a wide range of residential proxies from about 40 locations worldwide. Still, for social media scraping, you need to use residential IPs combined with automation tools and bots.
The drawback of this option is that it’s expensive if you need scraping at scale.
TikTok Data Scraping Sample Cases
If you want to scrape some details from TikTok yourself with a bit of coding, find below our examples. They are rather general yet helpful for a variety of cases. Keep in mind that it’s better to use a proxy if you are going to make tens of requests in a short period.
What is more, to track popularity over time, timestamps would be an excellent solution to add to the statistics.
Extracting Videos by a Certain User
TikTok-API by David Teather is a perfect solution to scrape videos of a single user. Run pip3 install TikTokApi, and get the up-to-date package. Let’s take Washington Post account on TikTok as an example and do the following in Python:
The user_videos object here is a list of a hundred video dictionaries. However, you will probably need just a few particular stats. It can be pulled out of the full dictionary in the following way:
Check the output file below. It looks like this:
Collection of the Videos Liked by a Particular User
If the videos liked by a given user are of special interest to you, it’s not much problem to extract them. Let’s take the official TikTok account to see how it works.
To collect the videos that it has liked recently, we use the following code:
Since, in fact, we save a list of videos, the output file looks similar to the previous one:
Trending Videos Extraction
In case you need to analyze the present-day trending videos, you can do it in a simple manner, like this:
The output file for trending videos on a certain date will look like this:
Creating a Large List of Users to Follow
If you need an extensive list of users to collect videos from (both the ones they post and the ones they liked), consider the 50 most followed TikTok accounts. However, it may not be enough sample, and then you can use suggested users of certain accounts. It will help snowball the necessary list of users. Let’s look at how we can do it for the following four different accounts:
- tiktok (official account)
- washingtonpost (official account)
- charlidamelio (the most-followed account)
- chunkysdead (a self-proclaimed “cult”)
The code used is the following:
And the suggested users are:
It’s essential to note that there are accounts where the list of recommendations may overlap. In our case, it was with washingtonpost and chunkysdead , so such an approach won’t give you what you need. Then you can try another method and use the getSuggestedUsersbyIDCrawler. It will keep your user snowball rolling.
Taking tiktok as the seed account, we can easily create a list of one hundred accounts, with the following code:
The list that we get in the result contains multifaceted celebrity accounts, like:
The getSuggestedUsersbyIDCrawler tool branches out and finds smaller, more niche accounts, with tens of thousands of followers during its operation. It’s beneficial to form a proper representative dataset.
As you can see, there is a wide variety of pre-built data scraping solutions, proxies, and marketing automation tools. Using them smartly, you can gain a competitive edge over your rivals quite quickly.
However, scraping social media is a complex and challenging task in itself. TikTok video content and login requirements make the mission even more complicated, especially if you need analysis at a large scale.
In this case, an expert team of DataOx is always ready to handle the tasks for you. All you need is to contact our representative for a free consultation , discuss your project, business specifics, data required, and we will do all the work for you.
Without wasting your time and nerve, you will get accurate, reliable, and up-to-date details from TikTok that you need.