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Using the Power of Alteryx Data Packs. Part Four: Creating Demographic Reports
If you’ve stuck with me this far, I applaud your tenacity! I hope the payoff is worth your while. This is the fourth article in our series covering the Alteryx Insights packs and how to leverage them for Customer Analytics. This post will cover in more depth, how to create advanced demographic reports within Alteryx.
In Part 1, we explored how to append demographic data at the geography level via the Allocate Tools. These tools live in the “Demographic Analysis” tool palette. There are four tools that make up this palette:
In the provided analytical app example, we will be covering the Allocate Input and Allocate Report tools. Through these tools you can easily query thousands of variables from Experian to append to your trade areas, block groups, DMAs, etc. The methodology used to accurately calculate metrics by custom geographic areas is quite clever. Alteryx utilizes “Block Centroid Retrieval”. Stored within the Allocate engine are over 5 million block centroids cover every census-defined block in the United States. Stored with each block is its latitude and longitude, as well as population and households for that block group. Per our documentation, “When an irregular polygon gets passed to the Allocate engine, Allocate first identifies which block centroids are contained within it. Block centroids found inside the polygon are associated with other block centroids having the same block group code. The population and household counts of the blocks are aggregated, expressed as a percentage of the corresponding block group's total population and household count, and then applied to each of the block group attributes being requested for an Allocate database or report...” The benefit of this methodology is that it quickly and dynamically calculates the properly apportioned metrics to your spatial objects. If you have experience in other platforms trying to allocate demographic data, you know this can be a challenge.
Back to the example at hand. In this analytical app, we can easily choose a location from a map, type in an address, do get specific demographic reports. Specifically, from the Allocate Report tool. This tool has canned reports that automatically generate based on the datasets you want to leverage. The way this app is currently configured, is utilizing the free, 2010 Census Demographic data. If you want to be able to use this app, but don’t have that data set installed, follow this link: http://downloads.alteryx.com/Data/US_Census_2010_SF1_Data.exe
Once downloaded you will run through the installer to load it into Alteryx.
The app is configured to accept multiple inputs based on how the user wants to create the reports. The first step is to select what kind of canned demographic report you want to pull. After that, you will select your location. You have three options, you can select specific geographies, input an address, or drop a point on a map.
Now all you need to do is run it and let it spit out a detailed, multi-paged PDF repot:
Now I imagine you’re a bit more curious to “get under the hood” of this app to see how it works! It begins with a few inputs, Text, and Map Inputs specifically. The Text Inputs give us the option to import a custom address, while the Map Input gives us the ability to drop a custom point anywhere. When using address, we want to make sure to standardize with our CASS database and geocode. The Street Geocoder is used here:
From there we begin the process of appending our Allocate reports to our selected locations. If importing an address or point from map, this involves creating trade areas with our Trade Area Tool, around locations at custom intervals. Those trade areas will be the geographies we use to append our Allocate Report tools to. You can see we have multiple tools present to allow for the selection of multiple types of canned reports.
This whole section gets repeated if an end user specifies a standard geography. All of this gets combined to build the final report structure. Using the Alteryx Reporting Tools, we can easily customize the report type (.pdf, .xlsx, .doc, etc.) and formatting.
This app is fully customizable, so don’t be afraid to make it your own! If you are currently licensing the Alteryx Business Insights pack, you can easily change the configuration of the Allocate Tools to bring in the more robust Experian data.
As a side, there is a known bug when using the Allocate Report tool and trying to generate an output from the Render Tool. This seems to effect Designer and Server versions 2021.4.1+. It has been resolved in Designer 2022.3.