How to set up your first Phantom

Once you understand how to set up one Phantom, you’ll be able to use almost any Phantom! Here you'll learn how to find and connect with the right Phantom, about how input and output files work, and how to define your Phantoms behaviour. Get started now by watching the step by step video below:

 

Step 1: Find the right Phantom

To begin, you need to find the Phantom you want in our Phantom store, found under "Solutions" in the nav bar at the top of your account:

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Here, you can use the search bar in the top left or the variety of filters on the left-hand side to find a Phantom for the action you need to automate:

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Clicking on the Phantom you're interested in will take you to its overview page and tell you more about what it does. When you're ready to start using it, click on "Use this Phantom." This will take you to the Phantom's setup, which is what we're here to help you with! We'll show you how to complete it using the example of LinkedIn Search Export.

Tip: if you want to know what the input/ output for a Phantom is, click on the sections “What you give” and ”What you get” at the top of a Phantom’s Overview page. 

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Here you will see what input type the Phantom requires, as well as what the Phantom will output in the Results File.

Step 2: Connect your account

Most of our Phantoms will ask for a connection to the network you want to automate by giving your session cookie so that the Phantom can act on your behalf. To obtain it, you can use PhantomBuster's browser extension. You can find it here for Chrome or here for Firefox.

Once you've done this, the button will now say "Connect to LinkedIn."

When you click on this, the cookie will populate the box automatically.

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If you're using another browser or would prefer to get your cookies manually, you can follow this tutorial.

Once you’re connected, the automated actions you’ve set up will be carried out on behalf of your own account. 

Sometimes you'll have to re-enter your session cookies using this “Connect” button, either because you’ve been using PhantomBuster for a few months, or you’ve done too much too quickly, and your current connection has expired. To avoid this, you’ll need to take into account the rate limits of different social networks, as discussed in the Networks & rate limits section of this guide. 

Step 3: Give the Phantom your input

In order to get the data you want, you'll need to give the Phantom some information - this is your "input data." This can be in the form of text, a search URL (as shown below), or a spreadsheet URL:

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Using a spreadsheet as input is useful for giving the Phantom more than one search item to process, and can be done using a Google Sheet.

Step 4: Define the Phantom's behavior

The Behavior step of each Phantom's setup is more specific to the Phantom you're using. Most of the fields in this section will be self-explanatory, so for now, we'll just highlight one - the number of results you'd like your Phantom to extract:

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  • "Number of results to scrape per launch" - this is the number of profiles you want the Phantom to extract each time it runs. This feature is especially useful when you're using repeated launches, as it means you can split the total number of profiles you extract into smaller batches and spread your data extracting out over time.
  • "Number of results to scrape per search" - this is the number of profiles you want the Phantom to collect in total for each of the search criteria you've given in your input spreadsheet.

If you’re unsure, leave its default setting and click Save. But please note that default settings are based on recommended rate limits for each network. If you want to customize your configuration, make sure to be aware of them. For more information, check out our Network limitations article.

Step 5: Set up automatic launches

In the final setup step, you can set your Phantom's launch settings and choose if you want your Phantom to launch automatically - this article will help you with that.

Click on the "Launch settings" in the Left sidebar, and to keep it simple for now, choose "Once":

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Step 6: Launch your Phantom

Once you've completed and saved your setup, you're ready to launch your Phantom! You'll be taken straight to the Phantom's console page, where you can click the "Launch" button to run the Phantom:

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Note: If you've set up automatic launches, you won't need to click this launch button - the Phantom will automatically launch as you have set it to.

Since our Phantoms run from the cloud, the Phantom will now run even if you close your browser and turn off your computer! There is a progress bar that will allow you to follow the Phantom's progress as it runs, and a "Stop" button in case you need to stop the launch at any point.

Once you've launched your Phantom for the first time, under "Recent activity," you will be able to keep track of each launch that has happened. You can find out more information about a specific launch by hovering over it and clicking "View log":

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You will be able to open your logs on your Phantom's console to see everything that your Phantom has done and troubleshoot any potential error.

Step 7: Manage your Phantom and its results files

After a successful launch, results files containing your data in both a CSV file and JSON form will appear to the right under "Files":

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Here, you can click on your files to preview them or download them to your device.

Each time the Phantom launches, it will add the new data it collects to the end of your results CSV so that all of your data will accumulate in one place.

For more information about result files and the issues you can encounter, don't hesitate to check out this article

And that's it! Congratulations, you've successfully set up your first Phantom! Be sure to check out the rest of our Help Center for any more information you might need, or contact our Support if you have any questions.

 

Enjoy using PhantomBuster!

 

If you think this article does not address your issue, please contact Support directly. We are continuously improving, so your feedback means the world to us!

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