This summer, I have been assigned to work for Convey, a young but visionary company that thinks and acts digitally. We live in a time with explosive data growth, while it would be a pure waste of time if we cannot capture its value cleverly. Convey is the solution for companies which miss their comparative advantages because of improper utilization of data. It offers services that include a comprehensive process of a digital project ranging from strategy consulting, implementation to operation. Aiming to bring digital transformation across the value chain of different businesses, Convey helps companies to tackle challenges and expand their potential by developing and operating customized B2B platforms that deliver data to achieve effective marketing and business development.
This was my first internship, and I was worried since I did not know what the company was expecting from me. I wondered if my skills would be sufficient because I spent most my time coding only in C++, while lacked experience in many other programming languages. Then, during my first video meeting, Haris Music, the marketing manager of Convey, really helped me understand my tasks in detail. I have learnt the business idea behind the company as well as its progress and found out it was at a very early stage. Haris was an approachable person who was willing to share his background and entrepreneurship experience with me. Instead of expecting me to design a viable product in such a short timeframe, he hoped me to learn as much as I could and gain experience from the company. Since they have moved to a new office in Herning, I worked remotely, and we mainly communicated through emails and video calls for meetings and work updates.
Efficient digital marketing was the major goal for both Convey and our potential customers. For my internship, I worked on a web scraping project, which intended to extract information, such as web header, the web address (URL) or domain which identified who served the ad, detailed description of the website, etc. from specific google ads pages based on different keywords. The way that google search ads worked was that as a company, you choose to put your ads on the keywords which you think your potential customers would search to find your business. Then, you set a daily budget, and you will only be charged when people are interested in the ad. However, it could be tricky for companies to figure out the desired keywords to maximize the exposure of their business to target customers. By developing this web scraping tool, Convey identified which competitors put ads under which keywords. With this valuable data, our customers could “spy” existing competitors with their google ads keywords, and thus choose suitable keywords and set budget strategically. This tool was undoubtfully useful to guide decision, reduce cost, and boost sales.
For the first week, I found some crash courses online about HTML to understand the basic ideas of web structure. I learnt HTML elements, such as tags, syntax, semantics, and templates. I also learnt other topics including document object model, images, hyperlinks, etc.. Moreover, I studied CSS class. Then I researched popular scraping approaches and found out it was common to do HTML scraping with python. Next, I studied some python tutorials during the second week to get familiar with its syntax and usage. At the same time, I looked up some current existing web scraping tools, and tried to use Web Scraper, a google chrome extension to extract data from a designated website. Starting from the third week, I tried to code in Python by importing two incredible libraries, Urllib2 to fetch URLs and BeautifulSoup to pull out information from websites. I utilized some functions to figure out the nested structure of websites and table, and then work with HTML tags to take out data. By the end of my internship, my code worked to scrape websites after programming and debugging, but it was a very simple version and a basic foundation of the project. I searched some open source code in Github, and learnt how I could improve mine in many ways. Eventually, we hoped to generate a report that could analyze the competitors' digital marketing strategies and thus helped our customers develop their business intelligence efficiently.
Besides for developing my own tool, I researched about the current competitors for Convey in the market. SEMrush was one prominent example. It was the digital marketing expert that helped generate comprehensive analytic reports of its customers' competitors. It seemed to be quite mature since it was partnered with lots of big companies, such as Booking.com, eBay, etc.. Through browsing its website, I realized that Convey could incorporate some sophisticated features, and then focus on smaller businesses with more competitive price.
Overall, this internship was an educational and memorable experience for me. I not only learnt new programming skills like HTML and Python, but also understood how start-up operated at an early stage. Unlike corporations, I did not have a fixed schedule or receive guided supervision. It depended on my interpersonal skills to communicate with my company, and thus find a position that I could make most of my ability. In addition, I had to be self-initiative and responsible for my tasks so that I could get work done. Also, it was essential to become a quick learner because there was always something that was not taught in school. The internship helped me get exposed to the world of digital marketing and made me think if I could find an idea in this area to start my own business. I was interested in web system and even tried to learn more about different scraping techniques after I left Copenhagen. I was glad that I had this valuable opportunity to know closely about an industry and apply theories into practice. I felt so grateful that people at Convey really encouraged me to learn and grow, and I gained tremendously from this experience. The skills and vision I acquired would definitely help me for my future development.
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