Target your Modern SharePoint Content to the Right Audience!

Audience targeting has been around for a while in classic SharePoint, but recently, a new, modern version of Audience targeting was announced for modern SharePoint. I was eager to test drive the functionality to see how it worked and to bring those of you not familiar with audience targeting up-to-speed by providing a practical use-case for using it.

The benefit and use-case of audience targeting is to selectively show content to a user based on their inclusion in an audience. An audience can include Office 365 Groups and Azure Active Directory Groups (not SharePoint Groups).
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What’s the use-case?

Here’s an example of using target audiences for Modern News…

Tag news items in a Leadership News site with Executive and Managers so depending on if you’re a member of the Executive team and/or Managers team, you will see different news thumbnails in the modern News or Highlighted Content web parts when they target the news pages. All news pages will be tagged with either the Executive Azure AD security group or the Managers Office 365 Group during the authoring process if they are intended only for that group.

What’s the advantage of this model?

You have one modern page with dynamic news depending on the audience you’re a part of!
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Let’s see how this works in modern SharePoint…

Step 1: Enable Audience Targeting on the Library

Enable this on the Site Pages library (or document library if you’re working with documents instead of pages). Note that modern audience targeting is only available on document and site page libraries.

This will automatically add an Audience column to the library. When editing a Site Page, you will be able to set the Audience property in the Page Details pane.

Tip:

Set up page templates for your news pages for each audience. The audience property setting remains set in the template so you will only have to update the content of the news item for each one you create!

Step 2: Add Audience-targeted Web Parts to a Modern Page

Once all site pages have been built and tagged with the audience they’re intended for, you can add either a News Web Part or a Highlighted Content Web Part to the home page of your News site and flip the Enable audience targeting toggle to On.

Step 3: What does the Executive and Leadership end-user see?

When an end-user from the Leadership Office 365 Group browses to the home page of the site, they’ll only see the news items tagged with their Group as the audience (in this example, they only see 2 news articles since there were only 2 items tagged with the Leadership Office 365 Group):

When an end-user from the Executive security group browses to the same home page of the site, they’ll see news items tagged with BOTH the Leadership Office 365 Group as well as the Executive security group since they are part of both groups:

The result?

One page with different, dynamic content based on the person browsing to it! That’s audience targeting.
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6 important things to know about Audience Targeting

  • Currently only available to set on Document libraries and Site Pages library
  • Currently only available to summarize on the News Web Part and the Highlighted Content Web Part
  • You can bulk-edit the audience property on a document or site pages library
  • Audience targeting is NOT security-trimming! If you require security-trimming for your solution, then you should security-trim your content to guarantee end-users will only see the content they’re permitted to see
  • It is the only thing a Site Collection Administrator permission level can’t override. For example, when a site collection administrator is viewing a page containing a web part with audience targeting enabled, they will not see any content unless they’re part of the audience the web part is targeted to. A site collection administrator will have to edit the page to see/edit the web part
  • You cannot target a SharePoint group as a Target Audience

Parting thoughts…

Audience targeting is a great addition to your toolbelt when building modern SharePoint sites and pages across your environment. Think of ways you can use this in your environment to intelligently target content to users! I’d love to know how you plan on using this in modern SharePoint!
Thanks for reading.

-JCK
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Credit: Image by kalhh from Pixabay

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Would you like to learn more from the incredible Joanne C Klein? We’ve got you covered! 😉👍

Read what she has to say about:

Integrating the Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways solution into your own modern Adoption Center

A modern policy hub and archive

Site governance using Microsoft Flow and Site Designs

Content type benefits in Modern SharePoint

Controlling SharePoint sprawl with modern governance

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