The Very Best LinkedIn Scraping Tools
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If your prospects are on LinkedIn (and they probably are) then at some point you might consider scraping LinkedIn to build your prospect list.
And fortunately there are lots of great tools to help you do it well.
In this article we’ll look at some of the challenges everyone has when scraping LinkedIn. And explore a few of the tools that make the job easier.
And we’ll give our recommendation for the best overall tool for the job.
Let’s get started!
What You Need To Know About Scraping LinkedIn
If you’re researching this article, you’re probably planning to build a lead list or do some competitor analysis.
Either way, here’s what you need to know about scraping LinkedIn.
Use A Lead Generation Agency
Using a profile scraper to pull data from LinkedIn is quick, easy, and affordable.
But doing it RIGHT is really time-consuming. You’ll need to set aside a couple hours a day to make sure your prospects match your ideal client profile. And all their extracted information lines up.
You’ll save a lot of time and money by working with a lead generation consultancy like Sales Higher. LinkedIn scraping tools themselves are pretty inexpensive. You can build a decent tech stack for less than $250/m. But the labor costs can add up to several times that amount.
You’ll Need Sales Navigator
If you plan to scrape LinkedIn in any meaningful way you’ll need to get Sales Navigator.
Sales Navigator is LinkedIn’s premium tool. It’s LOADED with amazing search filters so you can find the profiles that most accurately reflect your target ICP. Costs for subscription vary by country, but the basic subscription is about US$99/m. And they usually offer a free trial if you’d like to test it.
Along with premium search filters, Sales Navigator is required for a couple of other reasons, too.
First, LinkedIn has strict limits on how many profiles you can view over a period of time. Most users will run into a ‘commercial-use’ limit of around 300 profile views over a 30 day period.
It’s actually very easy to go beyond 300 profile visits. And when you do, LinkedIn will block your account access until you’re feeling motivated to sign up for a paid account.
Another reason you’ll need Sales Navigator is that many of the LinkedIn scraping tools were built with professional sales teams in mind. And several require Sales Navigator to extract data.
Understanding LinkedIn Search Results
The biggest challenge with scraping data from Sales Navigator is the search results themselves.
The results on page one are usually a perfect match for your search criteria.
But as you dig deeper into the search output, you’ll notice the relevancy begins to deteriorate.
Here’s a search I did for Owners of Insurance Companies with 11 – 50 staff in Florida.
Overall, the results were pretty good. But by page seven of the search results you can see the relevancy begins to decrease.
This is why it’s so time-consuming to build a quality lead list. Every profile has to be checked for accuracy and how well they match your ideal client profile.
LinkedIn Profile Issues
LinkedIn is the world’s largest social network for professionals. There are over 900 million users. Of which, over 135 million are active daily. And almost half a billion users are active monthly.
That’s a LOT of engagement!
But as a list building database LinkedIn isn’t perfect. Not by a long shot.
The problem is that the data you scrape from LinkedIn search results was created by humans. And that makes for a LOT of faulty data.
Here are some of the problems you’ll run into.
Human Error & Natural Constraints: A lot of the extracted data is poor quality. But not because of bad intent. Your results reflect how people think about their work.
Consider an accountant in a company that manufactures semiconductors. They might incorrectly list their industry as accounting.
And it’s not uncommon to see several people at the same company identify their industry in completely different categories. So they might use semiconductors, hardware, or manufacturing instead.
Basically, the quality of your scraped data is only as good as the data inputted by your fellow netizens.
Between Roles: When people leave a company they don’t always update their change in circumstances. In fact, if they haven’t secured a new role then they almost always ‘delay’ updating their change.
If you’re ‘between jobs’, there’s not much upside to drawing attention to being unemployed.
To illustrate the problem with LinkedIn data, a friend of mine received a promotion a few months ago. But he still hasn’t updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect his new responsibilities.
Partly, it’s just not a priority. He’s busy and not very active on LinkedIn.
But also, he’s being actively recruited by another firm. And he doesn’t want to show a short tenure in a new role if he ends up leaving.
So be a bit sceptical about the data you scrape from LinkedIn. That ‘perfect’ prospect… Yeah, they may not even work there any more.
Inactive Profiles: There are a LOT of inactive profiles on LinkedIn. These were created by real people years ago when LinkedIn was the shiny new toy. But they never really got into social media. And their profile hasn’t been accessed for several years.
These profiles make for a lot of messy data that doesn’t really reflect reality. The guy who was briefly CEO 8 years ago at your target company has long since moved on. But their profile lives on forever.
Retired / Passed Away: LinkedIn is over 2 decades old. Which means a lot of the early users are now retired. Or in some cases have passed away. But their current status isn’t reflected in their profile.
During the worst Covid-19 years we met many people who had been financially destroyed by the pandemic. Or were physically unable to continue operations. But of course none of that was reflected in their social media profiles.
Fake profiles: Fake profiles aren’t as big a thing on LinkedIn as on some other social networks. But it’s still a problem. Salespeople create fake profiles to do outreach. Data collectors use them to harvest data at scale. And there are lots of less savoury uses, too.
In just six months, LinkedIn identified and removed over 21 million fake accounts.
Most of these fake profiles probably don’t make it into your search results. But some do. And it’s time-consuming to research someone who doesn’t actually exist. Just a few non-existent people can add significant time to your prospect research process.
“Till Present” Export Leads
People have always had multiple roles in their lives. A full-time teacher might also be a part-time volunteer. Or a full-time coder might have a ‘side hustle’ doing something else they love.
Our multifaceted lives are wonderful. And it’s truly inspirational to see how people are nurturing their various interests.
But from the perspective of your leads export, all these varied interests are a bit of a nightmare.
Every activity the prospect lists as doing “to present” (they are currently doing) is a potentially screwed up search result that’s going to take time and effort to fix.
In the example above, I was searching for Owners of Insurance Companies with 11 – 50 staff in Florida.
Take another look at the results on page seven. How the heck could ‘The Chocolate Hotel‘ make it into the search results? That makes NO sense whatsoever.
Obviously we can’t use this profile in our list of insurance CEO’s. Right?
Actually, this profile is worth checking. Jerry is / was the CEO of an insurance firm with more than 11 staff in Florida.
He also happens to be the CEO of The Chocolate Hotel. The two roles are not mutually exclusive.
LinkedIn scraping tools handle multiple active positions in various ways. Some export ALL the results with the same person’s name being listed multiple times in a row.
Others only scrape the most recent result.
And still others will scrape the oldest result.
There is no perfect solution to this problem. But it’s going to have a meaningful impact on your workflow. So you need to decide how you want to handle these situations BEFORE you choose a tool.
Otherwise you’re going to end up contacting people for reasons that make no sense. If I reach out to the head of The Chocolate Hotel about an insurance related matter, it’s contextually bizarre
Our LinkedIn Scraping Tool Criteria
There are (I guess) hundreds of LinkedIn scraping tools. So I can’t claim to have tried them ALL. But I think it’s fair to say I’ve tried the most popular ones. I usually try a new one every couple of months, so I’m probably at around 50 by now.
The main thing we look at is how the tool will fit in with our existing workflows. A lot of people try to make their workflows fit the tool they are using. I would argue that the opposite approach is better. You should figure out how you want to work, and match the tool to the job.
So what do I look for in a LinkedIn scraper tool? Here’s a list of our criteria.
Multiple Open Roles: The very first thing we evaluate is how the tool exports multiple open roles. As I mentioned above, many prospects will have multiple concurrent roles and they can play havoc with the quality of your export.
Profile Review Process: When you search for profiles on Sales Navigator you need to select which ones will be added to your lead list. For some lists you’ll want to include the entire search results. For others you’ll want to manually review the profiles that best fit your potential customers.
Depending on what your workflow looks like you’ll want a tool that fits your needs. For example, we usually download all the search results at once. And then review them one by one from the extracted data export. You may prefer to examine each profile within Sales Navigator before adding it to your outreach efforts.
Email Address Accuracy: LinkedIn profile scrapers usually give you an email address as part of the scraped data results. But the way the tools generate emails widely varies. For example, some tools only provide contact information that they’re 100% confident is accurate (and it usually is). Other tools will provide as much contact information as they can generate. But the email address accuracy isn’t great. So it’s worth testing your short list of tools against each other.
Be sure to always validate your emails using a tool like Bouncer.
Ease of Use: You’d think pricing would be a key consideration. But I find most tools are competitively priced. A much bigger factor is overall ease of use. Your time is a LOT more valuable than an extra couple of dollars per month.
I once purchased a tool that had a ridiculously low price tag. Additionally, the email accuracy was nearly perfect. So I wanted to love the tool. But it was slow and took too long to add profiles to a list.
So in the end we had to dump it for a more established solution.
LinkedIn May Ban You
Microsoft / LinkedIn may disagree, but as far as I know it’s legal to scrape LinkedIn (disclaimer, I’m NOT A LAWYER).
But legality aside, scraping LinkedIn is absolutely against their terms and conditions. And they’ll enthusiastically ban your account if they catch you doing it.
They may give you a warning the first time. But the next time they catch you doing it, you’re history.
That’s one of the reasons so many companies prefer to work with a B2B prospecting agency. Doing so protects their LinkedIn profiles, which they’ve spent years building.
What LinkedIn Scraper Should I Use?
Based on the criteria I described above here are the two best tools for finding and scraping contact data on LinkedIn. Both of which I’m happy to recommend.
Evaboot is as close to perfect as we can get in a LinkedIn scraper. Here are some of the things I like about this powerful tool.
- Search <> Profile Match: Evaboot’s big claim to fame is they show whether your export leads match your original search. For example, if you were searching for CEO’s at companies with fewer than 10 staff then Evaboot will identify the profiles that don’t fit that search criteria. In my experience, about 35% of a data export doesn’t match the potential customers you were looking for. So this feature is a huge time saver!
- One-Click Download: Do a search in Sales Navigator and Evaboot will download the entire search result into a CSV. This makes it easy to process scraping tasks since all the information is being managed from the spreadsheet.
- Email Accuracy: When it comes to emails, no tool is perfect. But Evaboot’s email address accuracy is quite good. And the overall accuracy saves us a lot of time doing additional research, later.
- Account Protection: It’s easy to rack up 1000’s of search results in Sales Navigator and then click a button to download them. Scratch that – actually, it’s TOO easy. Evaboot is set up so you can only scrape 2500 profiles in a 24 hour period. If you try and do more than that they block you from proceeding. You might not appreciate them telling you what to do. But you’ll LOVE them when they save your Sales Navigator account from getting blocked by LinkedIn
My other favorite LinkedIn automation tool is Get Prospect. It’s a solid all-round tool that does everything right. Some highlights include:
- On-Page Review: With Evaboot you download all the search results to CSV at once. Get Prospect lets you check each profile one by one. And then decide which ones get added to your list. It’s quite time-consuming at the start. But it can potentially save you a lot of time in the long run.
- Email Finder: They do a great job of finding email addresses for your target audience. As always, be sure to verify using another tool like Bouncer.
Other LinkedIn Data Tools
There’s NO shortage of tools that will help you scrape LinkedIn. If the two above aren’t the right fit for you, here are some others you should explore.
- Meet Alfred
What LinkedIn Scraping Tools Do You Use?
How about you? What LinkedIn scraping tools would you recommend? What makes them stand out in the context of your workflow?