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Manage audiences

Updated: August 30, 2007

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2007-08-30

Audiences enable content in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to be targeted to users and groups based on their role in an organization, their membership in groups and distribution lists, or the values of properties in their user profiles.

Audience managers create and manage audiences from the audience administration pages of the Shared Services Administration site. After audiences are created, they can be used by information workers to target Web Parts, lists, and other content. They can also be used by other administrators of the shared service to target links to personalization sites, trusted My Site host location links, and published links in Office client applications. For more information about targeting content to audiences, see Targeting content.

In this article:

Selecting the audiences manager

Audiences managers are users who have at least View Only permission to the Shared Services Administration site and also have the Manage Audiences permission enabled. During installation, the account used to create the Shared Services Provider site collection is automatically granted this permission. In most organizations, the user for that account or a permissions manager selected by that user will enable the Manage Audiences permission for one or more users. Those same users will also be granted at least View Only permission to the Shared Services Administration site.

Audiences managers can access all of the audiences administration pages.

For more information about personalization permissions, see Administering personalization permissions.

Managing audiences and audience rules

Audiences are defined by audience rules. When you create an audience, you create one or more rules for the audience. Audience rules use simple queries to include or exclude users from membership in an audience. Each rule includes the following elements:

  • Operand identifies the user or property that you want to include in the query for the rule.

  • Operator determines whether users who are compared to the value are included in or excluded from the audience.

  • Value is the point of comparison that is used by the query.

An audience can have one or more rules. Audiences with multiple rules use one of the following sets of logic:

  • Satisfy all of the rules: Equivalent to a logical AND between every rule. Each rule added to an audience with this logic is restrictive, because users must match all rules to be targeted by the audience. Added rules tend to reduce the size of the audience membership.

  • Satisfy any of the rules: Equivalent to a logical OR between every rule. Each rule added to an audience with this logic expands the membership, because users that match any of the rules are targeted by the audience. Added rules tend to increase the size of the audience membership.

Complex rules (rules that have six or more elements used in combination) must be created by using the Office SharePoint Server 2007 object model. Audiences with multiple rules that use logic more complex than Satisfy all of the rules or Satisfy any of the rules must also be created using the Office SharePoint Server 2007 object model.

Audiences must be compiled before they can be used to target content to users and groups. For more information about audience compilation, see the "Compiling audiences" section later in this article.

Managing audiences

The Manage Audiences page is the top level of administration for audiences. From this page, the audiences manager can create audiences, view audiences, schedule audience compilation, and compile audiences. The Manage Audiences page also has a list of statistics about audiences, including:

  • Number of audiences: The total number of audiences in the current Shared Services Provider (SSP).

  • Uncompiled audiences: The number of audiences that have not yet been compiled.

  • Compilation status: This displays whether audiences are idle or compiling.

  • Compilation time: This displays the time when the current compilation began, or the most recent compilation ended.

  • Compilation schedule: This displays the compilation schedule as a link to the Specify Compilation Schedule page. If scheduling has not been enabled, the link text displays "Disabled (Click to configure)".

  • Compilation errors: This section lists any errors that occurred during the most recent compilation.

When you create an audience, you also select an owner for the audience. The audience owner is someone who understands why the audience was created, and can be contacted if there is a problem with an audience. This person is often the same as the person who created the audience, though the contact can be anyone and does not have to be an audiences manager. Having such a contact can be useful in large organizations that have a large number of audiences created by several different audiences managers.

Audiences are listed on the View Audiences page. If there are a large number of audiences, you can search for audiences based on the characters at the beginning of the audience name. You can also choose to view only compiled or uncompiled audiences. From this page, audiences managers can create, edit, or delete audiences, view audience properties, view audience membership, and compile audiences.

All members of each audience are listed on the View Audience Membership page, which can be accessed from the menu for each audience on the View Audiences page. For large audiences with many users, you can search for users by account name, preferred name, or e-mail address.

Audience managers can edit an audience to change the name, description, or owner for the audience. You can also change whether audiences must satisfy all audience rules or can satisfy any rules.

Audience managers can also delete audiences when those audiences are no longer needed.

Managing audience rules

Audience rules are managed from the Audience Rules section of the View Audience Properties page, which is accessed by selecting View Properties in the menu for each audience on the View Audiences page. Audiences managers can modify audiences by adding new rules or editing existing rules. Audiences are typically modified when the actual membership of an audience does not match the intended membership, or when the business need for the audience has changed.

Adding audience rules

New audience rules enable audiences managers to change the membership of an existing audience, either to focus on a smaller group of users or to expand the number of targeted users. Audiences managers add audience rules when it is not possible to edit an existing rule to achieve the same effect.

Adding audience rules is a good practice in the following situations:

  • New value for the User operand: You are targeting an audience by membership or reporting structure, and you want to add users in a different distribution list or reporting to a different manager.

  • New operator for the User operand: You are currently targeting by reporting structure and want to target by membership in a distribution list.

  • New operand: You are currently targeting an audience by membership or reporting structure, and you want to expand or reduce the membership based on a user profile property.

  • New Property operand: You are targeting an audience based on one property and you want to expand or reduce the membership based on an additional property.

Example

Several users reporting to the same manager use a personalization site for a personalized view of key business data. To make the personalization site more accessible, an administrator has used an audience based on the User operand and the Reports to operator to target a personalization site link to the group that uses the site. That audience is configured to target to users that satisfy any rules. As time goes on, new rules might be added for the audience as the site becomes more widely used, as follows:

  • When another group starts using the site, a second audience rule is added based on the User operand and a different Reports to value.

  • As time goes on, several users across the organization also begin using the personalization site, so a new audience rule is added. This new rule is based upon the User operand and the Member of operator, using the value for a distribution list consisting of these additional users.

  • Later, the administrator decides that all the users in a particular branch office should be targeted, and creates a new audience rule with the Property operand, using the Office property.

  • Yet another audience rule, based on the Title property, is added when the administrator decides that everyone with a particular job title will want access to the site even if they're not already targeted by the audience.

In practice, it is often simpler to create simple audiences based on a single rule, and then simply add or remove audiences based on changing business needs. This is particularly true of audiences that can satisfy any of the rules. So in the previous example, it might be easier to use five different audiences. If an audience with multiple rules must satisfy all of those rules, it is not usually possible to replace that single audience with multiple audiences. Other relevant considerations might include the total number of audiences in an SSP.

Editing audience rules

The audiences manager can also change the membership of an audience by editing an existing rule for the audience. Audiences managers can edit audience rules to adjust the size of the audience membership while retaining most of the elements of the rule. Typically, it does not make sense to change all of the properties for a rule, because adding a new audience rule and deleting the current rule would have the same effect.

Editing an audience rule is a good practice in the following situations:

  • Operand: This is the least likely change, as it is almost always a better practice to add a new rule. However, you might change a User operand based on reporting structure or membership in a distribution list to a Property operand based on a manager, title, or other property that is intended to create an audience with a similar but better-targeted membership.

  • Operator: You might change the operator if the actual membership of the list is too narrow or broad. For example, you might change the = (Equals) operator to the Contains operator to increase the membership of the audience.

  • Value: You might change the target value for an audience rule if you are evaluating the right user operand or property, but the membership is larger or smaller than intended or there are users or groups that you want to include or exclude based on changing business needs. If the property is multi-valued, you can also add one or more additional values.

Deleting audience rules

Audiences managers can delete audience rules when the business need for targeting content changes for one group within an audience but not the entire targeted audience.

Rules are often deleted to expand or reduce the number of users targeted by an audience. Deleting audience rules can expand or reduce the membership depending upon whether an audience must satisfy all rules or any of the rules. If an audience must satisfy all rules, deleting an audience rule expands the membership. If an audience can satisfy any of the rules, deleting an audience rule reduces the membership.

When there is no longer a business need to target content to the users and groups targeted by an audience, you can delete the audience.

Compiling audiences

Each audience must be compiled before content can be targeted to that audience. Compilation identifies membership in an audience by crawling the most recently imported data from directory services. Users that match audience rules are included in the audience. When they attempt to view a targeted list or Web Part, their identities are authenticated and the content is only displayed for members of the audience. Users who are not targeted are not authorized to see the content, and it is not displayed.

It is a good practice to frequently compile audiences, so that changes to directory services can be used to update audience membership. Audiences managers can schedule compilation for all audiences so that it happens automatically, but they can also compile audiences at any time. Audience managers can compile all audiences, or a single audience.

Targeting content to audiences

Site administrators, designers, and other information workers with the appropriate permissions can target content to audiences. To target Web Parts or lists, users must have the Design permission to the relevant site, list, or Web Part. Content targeting is a task for information workers; audience managers and other users with access to the Shared Services Administration site do not usually target content unless they are also site administrators or designers.

The Shared Services Administration site provides three lists of links that anyone with at least View Only permission to the site can target to audiences. These include trusted My Site host locations links, published links to Office client applications, and personalization site links. In practice, the user targeting these links could be a user profiles manager, an audiences manager, or just a general-purpose administrator for the Shared Services Provider (SSP).

ImportantImportant:

To be included in audiences, and to view targeted content, users must have the Use personal features services permission for Profile Services enabled.

For more information about targeting links, see Manage targeted links.

Task requirements

The following are required to perform the procedures for this task:

  • Audiences managers must have read access to the Shared Services Provider (SSP) administration site.

  • Audiences managers must have the Manage Audiences permission enabled.

To manage audiences, you can perform the following procedures:

See Also

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