Phantombuster has become an essential tool in the growth hacker and/or sales ops toolbox. The tool is undeniably effective for setting up flow processes.
In this article, we detail the philosophy of the tool, the use cases, and the things for which the tool is really interesting. According to us, and according to other users.
Phantombuster: basic principles & usage
Phantombuster is above all a sales automation tool, a bit like Apify or Captain Data.
The principle of “phantoms”
A phantom works like an API route. You send an input, and it returns the output to you.
For example, you give the URL of a Linkedin post, and the phantom returns the list of Linkedin profiles who have commented on this post.
The phantom library is very deep, and this is a real peculiarity of Phantombuster, which offers very “atomic” things to allow you to retrieve only what interests you and imagine original things.
The design of the phantoms is also very efficient. For each object imaginable on Linkedin (post, people, company, comment, invitation, etc.), each possible action is available in the form of a phantom.
This is a real peculiarity of Phantombuster, compared to other more “packaged” solutions such as waalaxy , dux-soup, linked helper, etc.) which are much more rigid, because they focus on use cases imagined by the product team.
If you’re not particularly keen on reinventing the wheel, Phantombuster also offers ready-made workflows, most of them pretty well thought out.
Using Phantombuster with Google sheets allows you to create (almost) perfect flow processes
This is one of the most powerful aspects of the solution in our opinion, and yet not well documented. The 100% cloud philosophy and the super management of inputs/outputs make it possible to build almost perfect flows while keeping control of the process.
If your Phantom is set up with repeated automatic launches, your CSV file will be updated on each launch. By importing this data systematically into Google Sheets, it will be updated with each new launch.
To import the results file into Google Sheets, first, open a Google Sheet and use the = IMPORT DATA function with the CSV link as an argument.
To get this link, simply click the “Copy Link” button of the CSV file of your results located under the “Files” section on a Phantom console page.
The data will refresh automatically every 2 hours as long as the Phantom is launched.
The alternative is to use the “built-in” tool to chain Phantombuster scenarios. We are rather fewer fans, but that can be defended in some cases.
The counterpart: the cost of full cloud
The main issue of the full cloud is the ease of detecting abnormal activity on social networks.
You can put as many proxies and complicated processes as you want, Linkedin will always have a lot more trouble detecting strange activities if they come from the same machine and the same IP as the “normal” activities.
The philosophy of the full cloud is very convincing on paper, but in fact, it is a very significant additional cost:
- The risk of detection is higher, which requires more conservative behavior.
- The cost of maintenance and setup is also rather higher. Scaling up requires the use of fairly complex technologies (proxies, multi-accounts, etc.) which also represent a cost that should not be neglected. Scraper Linkedin locally, it might not be very sexy, but it’s much easier to get 10,000 lines.
A subject of machine efficiency that is difficult to understand
There are surely good reasons that we do not know, but we have always been a little disappointed by the velocity of the phantoms.
It’s a bit made worse by the fact that Phantombuster’s business model is based on the machine time used.
Solutions like CaptainData, Apify,… allow obtaining results in a much faster way on simple operations like a Scrap Quora, or a “Company name to Website” (obtaining a website from the name of a company).
Not a blocking point in itself, but it’s a bit painful when you want to manage fairly large volumes.
Phantombuster, how to automate your marketing tasks
To get closer to their customers and to achieve much better results in their marketing campaigns, more and more companies are turning to digital.
Thus, among other things, they must use various automation tools to better deal with recurring tasks while focusing on their marketing actions.
Among the automation tools is Phantombuster,
Zoom on this tool allowing in particular to automate internet browsing.
Phantombuster: harnessing the performance of APIs
The company has set up the https://www.phantombuster.com platform, dedicated to marketing automation, which allows marketers to better exploit the performance of APIs.
An API (application programming interface) allows you to use an existing program rather than redevelop it.
From this platform, it is possible to transform bots into tools to automate various repetitive and regular tasks.
By launching more than a million robots on the market, this startup has set itself many objectives, including the automatic collection of data from websites, the implementation of a powerful notification system, or the launch of scripts.
By automating many recurring tasks, robots (bots) offer remarkable time savings in many areas.
Among the tasks that can be automated is monitoring the price of a product on different sales sites. For customers, this is a godsend, because they will no longer have to go around different e-commerce sites to identify the lowest price on the market for a given product, but you will immediately understand that this type of API is especially useful for doing competitive intelligence.
Other operations are also made easier by automation such as:
Finding specific skills on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
Note that Phantombuster is already used in many areas including real estate, IT, pharmaceuticals, and even the economy.
Phantombuster review: specificities
They managed to set up the tool par excellence for growth hackers!
This tool is also useful for marketing professionals who have decided to conquer the digital age through automation.
Among the operations that can be automated via the tools are data collection, storage, or even automatic formatting.
According to the Bamf agency, which specializes in Marketing, Phantombuster review has distinguished itself from other growth-hacking tools quite simply because it is the only one that has been able to meet all the expectations of professionals in the field.
As for the other tools, while some lack efficiency, others do not work at all.
Add an API almost anywhere
Phantombuster is a Saas platform that any developer can use to add an API to any website.
For now, there are only a few websites that have an API, yet this is particularly effective in automation and data collection.
To help you better understand, here is an example:
At the end of each day, you must collect all the data collected on these platforms to enrich your database.
Thanks to an API generated from Phantombuster, this operation can be automated.
Thus, all Internet users who have commented or liked an article, for example, are automatically recorded in a single file.
You can also customize the list from Phantombuster if you want to divide the contacts or the data by category.
All the APIs offered by the platform can connect as it is REST API, it is quite possible to launch a “call” and the results can also be sent to other compatible tools.
Automate messages on social networks while remaining natural
Phantombuster offers you the advantage of not depending on APIs specific to social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook.
Among the most important tasks that can be automated with Phantombuster are logging in and controlling your LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram accounts.
Not everyone who reacts to your social media accounts will notice that bots send out automatic responses since they are realistic and natural.
They will be convinced that it is you who follow up on the contacts of each visitor.
Phantombuster review: to optimize communication between developers
Faced with a large number of sites that generate billions of data, but cannot interact, the founders of phantombuster wanted to do something.
Thanks to their platforms, they allow developers to operate robots that will collect data both in reading and writing.
To help you better understand how Phantombuster and its bots work.
The latter wanted to make sure to always offer the lowest price on the market. Thanks to Phantombuster, online stores that offer the same products as it is scanned in real-time to identify the best offers.
The key to Phantombuster is certainly the API Store which is an application store available to marketers and growth marketers.
The API Store has been available since October 2017 and the founders of Phantombuster plan to transform it into an API Marketplace to better satisfy professionals in the sector.
Developers can then create their APIs and make them available on the marketplace.
Other users will therefore be able to use APIs created by developers in the API marketplace.
Automate your Linkedin prospecting with Phantombuster
# 1 use Phantombuster review to create lead lists
There are many ways to create prospecting lists from LinkedIn with Phantombuster:
- Extract members of a LinkedIn group: to import all members of a group of which you are a member.
- Extract people from a LinkedIn search: Your LinkedIn search becomes a list of leads to tap into.
- Extract people from a Sales Navigator search: Extract a list of qualified prospects from a Sales Navigator search.
- Extract a Sales Navigator list: Export all leads from your Sales Navigator lists.
- Extract people who have commented on a post: to collect the profiles of people who have commented on a post that you think is relevant.
- Extract people, who liked a post on LinkedIn: does a post seem consistent with your activity and has been massively liked? You can extract all liker profiles to turn them into leads.
- Extract the list of attendees to an event you are attending
- Extract Sales Navigator Accounts: Create a list of Sales Navigator accounts.
- Extract a list of the employees of a company.
- Extract a list of employees from Sales Navigator.
- Extract companies from a LinkedIn search.
By putting the input/output of a few phantoms in the same Google Sheet spreadsheet, you can create fairly advanced workflows.
- A search for “Accounts” (companies) on SalesNavigator with booleans going well etc. for a list of ICP companies.
- Extract the employees who correspond to certain filters for each of these accounts (you will have to tinker a little in the spreadsheet to generate the URL that suits you from the output of the first step)
- Get all the info on each lead
- Get an email for each lead
- Send them to Salesforce or Hubspot from zapier, integromat, or your spreadsheet, according to your tastes (and the validation process before sending).
# 2 Use phantombuster review to enrich prospecting files
You can enrich your data contained in your prospecting files by extracting data from LinkedIn:
- Turn your LinkedIn searches into an email list;
- Extract business emails from a Sales Navigator search list;
- Extract emails from members of a LinkedIn group;
- Extract professional emails from people who have commented on a publication;
- Extract professional emails from your LinkedIn connections;
- Find professional emails using the names of people and the names of companies;
- Enrich your CRM with your new LinkedIn connections.
# 3 Use phantombuster review to automate actions on Linkedin
You can indeed use Phantombuster to automate your actions on social networks such as LinkedIn, here is what you can do:
- Connect to all leads from a Sales Navigator search;
- Connect to all profiles resulting from a LinkedIn search;
- Connect to all members of a group;
- Send an invitation to everyone who liked a post;
- Send an invitation and/or a message to everyone who has commented on a post;
- Send an invitation and/or a message to people who have viewed your Sales Navigator profile;
- Automatically like all the publications of your company and your colleagues;
- Automatically send a welcome message to all your new connections;
- Automatically send an invitation to your LinkedIn events to all your contacts;
- Invite your contacts to follow your company page;
- Track mentions of your favorite brands.
Also, use workflows to make your job easier. For example, you have the option of designing full campaigns from LinkedIn.
Follow the next steps:
- Extract a profile search
- Send connection invitations to profiles
- Track acceptances obtained
- Send a welcome message
- Track and manage message replies
So your lead generation campaign on LinkedIn is completely automated.
Another important point, Phantombuster does not allow you to bypass the limit of 100 invitations/week. They explain why here if you’re curious.
Overall, if you are looking for a prospecting solution on LinkedIn, prefer Waalaxy, or a good old Dux-soup in chrome extension.
Other use cases of Phantombuster
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
We find a fairly similar operation on other social networks.
You will be able to export lists of followers or people who have interacted with your content or that of certain accounts. It is a powerful tool for identifying “influencer” accounts, for example on Instagram in B2C or Twitter in B2B.
On Facebook, phantoms are very powerful for taking advantage of groups (quickly commenting on relevant posts, extracting the list of group members, finding a Facebook account with a first name & last name, etc.).
Google Maps is a very powerful data source for “brick & mortar” targets, in other words for small local businesses: restaurants, liberal professions, traders, etc.
We are generally not so convinced by this phantom (which we find frankly a little slow), but know that it is a possibility!
Other use cases
There is no shortage of phantoms and use cases. Something to be creative about
For our part, we retain in particular the integration with Slack, which allows you to be notified when certain keywords are mentioned in one or more slack groups. In B2B, it can be a significant channel and source of many interesting conversations.
Otherwise, you will find many scrapers, and a little more custom tools like the email finder, or the domain name finder.
Read more: What is Tweetdeck? How to schedule Tweets?
Customer reviews of Phantombuster
Overall customer reviews for phantombuster are good. The team is present and serious, and the support offered is frankly excellent. It also obtains a rating of 5/5 on Capterra and 3.5 / 5 on G2.
- The speed of obtaining leads: “Collecting public data from popular social network profiles, which I would have to do manually to be able to prospect for leads”;
- Automating Actions on LinkedIn: “You can automate most tasks using Phantombuster. Phantombuster saves you a tremendous amount of time through automation. “.
- Difficulties in setting up and getting started: “The user interface was a bit rough at first. “; “Creating your APIs is a bit complicated”.
- A little light customer support: In their defense, they have made a lot of progress on this point, but the documentation is overall a little light, and the support is not always up to date, given the complexity of the solution ( lots of phantoms, use-cases,…).
If you read the negative reviews in detail, it’s usually about people who struggled to put the trick in place the first time around.
If you are already technically very solid and you have a good grasp of the different data sources and the methods to exploit them, you will quickly be limited on Phantombuster.
And the converse is also a bit problematic. If you are new to these topics, it will take quite a bit of energy to use the tool properly. At first, you will stick a lot of CSV exports by hand, fixes to implement due to corrupted input data that you have not filtered, and so on. Overall quite painful.
- Phantombuster is divided into 5 different offers: The completely free “Free forever” offer which gives you access to Phantombuster for 10 min per day and 1 slot. You get the basic essential functions available on Phantombuster, namely: automatic launches, access to all the functionalities on the different platforms, notifications by email and on Slack, access to the support community, and 1GB of online storage space.
- The “Growth Hacker” offer at $ 30 / month for 1 hour per day and 5 slots and all the functions available free of charge, and access to the Captcha service (100 / day) and to 20 Discovery Emails per day (an option which we will talk about right after).
- The Business offers $ 70 / month for 3 hours of machine time per day and 10 phantombuster slots, as well as 10GB of online storage. Captcha option increases to 200 per day and Email Discovery increases to 70 per day.
- The Enterprise offering at $ 200 / month allows you to use Phantombuster 10 hours per day with 20 slots, 20GB of storage space, and Captcha and Emails Discovery options at 300 per day.
- The $ 900 / month Premium offer allows you to use Phantombuster for up to 60 hours per month and create 40 slots, with access to 30GB of storage space. The Email Discovery option goes to 1500 emails per day and the Captcha option goes to 400 per day.
Phantombuster: the conclusion
Marketers can harness the hidden potential of APIs with Phantombuster and its catalog of more useful APIs.
Whether it is to automate tasks on their social networks or to set up data extraction mechanisms, everyone will find what they are looking for and will save precious time in the use of the different solutions.
In a spirit of permanent Growth Hacking, the phantombuster teams are working to build bridges between the various web services and developers.
Thanks to fundraising in 2017, the platform is targeting the American market and dreams of promoting interconnection between the different websites.
The Captcha option allows you to go through those checkboxes frequently used by platforms to ensure that you are not a robot.
The Email Discovery option allows you to obtain the professional email addresses of 80% of your contacts from the simple names of people and companies you have.
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