Mastering Date and Time Data Manipulation: An In-Depth Guide to DATETIME_ADD Function in Looker Studio

 Mastering Date and Time Data Manipulation: An In-Depth Guide to DATETIME_ADD Function in Looker Studio


The soaring advancement of data analytics makes the ability to deal with date and time data critical for researchers, analysts, and marketers. Google Data Studio, the data visualization giant, introduces a series of date and time-related functions, among which DATETIME_ADD shines prominently.

DATETIME_ADD is a powerful function that is designed to add a specified time interval to a date or time. It gives you the flexibility to manipulate date and time data to reveal indispensable insights from your data - insights that could transform the sales landscape for your business.


The syntax for this function involves a datetime_expression, an integer, and a part, forming the template:

DATETIME_ADD(datetime_expression, INTERVAL integer part)

  • datetime_expression: This is a Date or a Date & Time field or expression.
  • integer: This is a whole numeric field or expression indicating the number of parts to add.
  • part: This specifies the unit of time measurement to add.

How the Function Works

Using the DATETIME_ADD function, you can add time intervals to your date data in various different units, ranging from microseconds to years. However, the function is unavailable for compatibility mode date types.

Also, keep in mind that if the resulting date from using MONTH, QUARTER, or YEAR parts falls at (or near) the last day of the month, DATETIME_ADD will return the last day of that month. This is due to the variances in the number of days among different months.


Let's illustrate the powerful DATETIME_ADD function with a business example.

Assume you're running an e-commerce business and you want to predict sales for next month based on the sales date where the date field is 'Sales Date'. Simply use the DATETIME_ADD function to move the sales date forward by a month, like this:


Or perhaps you want to assess user activities a week after a mega-sale event. You could use:


Limitations of the Function

The limitations of the DATETIME_ADD function primarily originate from the nature of date and time data. It's worth noting that DATETIME_ADD cannot be used with compatibility mode date types, a hindrance for legacy data.


When using the DATETIME_ADD function, keep in mind that the result might be the end of the month. If it's important to keep the specific date intact, consider using alternative strategies to handle date and time operations. For instance, when you want to compare the same day across different months, adding a month might cause inaccuracies because some months have more days than others.

Harness the power of the DATETIME_ADD function to explore temporal patterns in your data and discover crucial insights that empower data-driven decision-making in your organization.

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