Understanding and Utilizing the REGEXP_CONTAINS Function in Looker Studio for Data Manipulation and Extraction

 Understanding and Utilizing the REGEXP_CONTAINS Function in Looker Studio for Data Manipulation and Extraction

Google Data Studio Function : REGEXP_CONTAINS

Google Data Studio opens up an expansive world of data manipulation and extraction for users. One tool in its feature-rich toolkit is the

REGEXP_CONTAINS
function. This function offers the power to search text strings using regular expressions, providing an efficient way to identify and extract specific data patterns.

Function Syntax and How It Works

The

REGEXP_CONTAINS
function uses the following syntax:
markdown
REGEXP_CONTAINS(X, regular_expression)
Where:

  • 'X' is a field or an expression that you wish to evaluate.
  • 'regular_expression' is the pattern you want to search for.

This function will return Boolean values, i.e., true or false. If the pattern you've entered in 'regular_expression' is found within 'X', the function will return true. Otherwise, it will return false.

One key difference between

REGEXP_CONTAINS
and the similar
REGEXP_MATCH
function is that
REGEXP_CONTAINS
can match a part of the value in 'X', while
REGEXP_MATCH
checks to match the entire string by default.

Examples

Let's say you have a data set of monthly sales reports. Each report is labeled with text that includes the sales representative's name ("rep") and the month ("mon"), e.g., "rep_John_mon_Jan."

Now, suppose you want to find all sales reports by the representative "John." You could use

REGEXP_CONTAINS
to achieve this.
markdown
REGEXP_CONTAINS(report_label, 'rep_John')

This will evaluate the 'report_label' field and return true for any record containing 'rep_John' and false for all others.

Function Limitations

This function detects patterns based on RE2 regular expression syntax, so it's important to familiarize yourself with it to produce accurate results. Patterns containing escape characters, such as

\
, may require additional escaping in Google Data Studio.

Helpful Tips

Despite its limitations,

REGEXP_CONTAINS
is a powerful function that allows for complex pattern matching. Not only can it be used to detect substrings, but with a well-crafted regular expression, you can recognize specific character sequences, repeat patterns, and much more.

Remember to be meticulous with the regular expressions you use, as incorrect syntax can lead to unexpected results, and always test your expressions before finalizing your reports. Happy data analyzing!

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