Automation triggers based on time instead of date

Topic Labels: Automations
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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Hi everyone!

I’m trying to use my Airtable as a social media scheduler, and I’ve got a date/time column for when I want the post to send to Twitter.

Does anyone know of a way to trigger automations based on the time of a column, as opposed to just the date? Right now if I use the trigger ‘when Date equals today’, all the automations fire at 12:00am instead of the corresponding time I put in the column.

Anyone know a way around this, so that if I set a date/time of Oct 31 at 8:00pm, the automation doesn’t actually fire until 8:00pm as opposed to right when it becomes Oct 31 (ie. 12:00am)?


10 Replies 10

You need to create a formula field that compares your target date/time to NOW() with DATETIME_DIFF and changes value based on that difference. Note that NOW() is not update continuously so the trigger might not fire until a few minutes after the actual date/time.

Hi there, can you explain this a little more please? I’m having the same problem, but don’t understand what exact formula I should be using. Is it NOW(DATETIME_DIFF) and linking “DATETIME” to my publishing date field? And in the actual automation, should I add an additional condition? If so, what? Thanks!

@Children_s_Environme Welcome to the Airtable community!

I’m sorry that I don’t have time to give a more in depth explanation.
I recommend that you start small by experimenting with how NOW(), DATETIME_DIFF() and other functions work, both individually and together. You can read about them in the formula field reference.

Then I recommend you experiment with filtering views based on the formula fields until you understand how setup a view so that records will appear in the view when you want the automation to trigger.

After you have that setup, you can use the “when record meets conditions” automation with the same conditions as your filtered view.

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

@Connor_Haslam @Children_s_Environme My suggestion would be to create a formula field with IF(NOW()>{Date & Time Field Name},“1”,“2”), this will change to 2 when NOW is greater than the time in the field. This can then be used as a trigger in automations or use a filtered view to trigger Zapier or Integromat.

This will not be an exact time trigger, roughly 7-15 min accuracy. This is because the NOW function updates every 7-15 mins. So you want to use a greater than function because NOW will never equal the Time in the field.

Depending on your Interval Time for Runs in Zapier or Integromat, you can calculate the actually posting time within a min and max.

5 - Automation Enthusiast
5 - Automation Enthusiast

Hi Andrew, I’d love to use the formula you’ve suggested here, but it keeps returning an error. I’m very new to Airtable, so not sure what’s causing the issue. I’ve change the field name to the relevant date & time column, but is there anything else I need to do? Thanks so much for your help!

6 - Interface Innovator
6 - Interface Innovator

@Meagan_Caesar Can you send me a picture of your table, the formula you are using, and provide a description of what you are trying to do and why?

4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Hi - I’m new and know zilch. I’m trying to automate my posts to run at the date AND TIME I’ve set. Not sure how to modify. I added the above to my script but it did not work. Can you help? and should I add this to the original script or should I replace the original script that is showing? Right now everything posts at midnight (or thereabout)

This is formula is meant to be used to create a trigger for an automation software like Zapier or Integromat. You would set up a different View with a filter set to only show the records where Now is > Date & Time Field. Can you send me a screenshot of your table, scripts, formulas, etc.