Target Content to the Right Audiences in Modern SharePoint

It’s undeniable that an intranet’s success weighs heavily on the quality of its content. SharePoint at its core is built around managing and storing content, and since its inception, SharePoint has been paving new ways to manage it. SharePoint Online is truly improving content management with a beautiful web interface that provides a richer experience around content. SharePoint Online empowers content authors to curate more content, tag and manage that content with ease, and surface it to the right group. Modern experiences in SharePoint Online, however, lacked the audience targeting feature that classic provided. But that’s all changed! With audience targeting now available in modern SharePoint, Microsoft is making it even easier to surface rich content to the right user.


What is Audience Targeting?

Audience Targeting is a feature in SharePoint that allows you to show relevant content, such as news articles, content pages, and more, to specific audiences. It helps get the most appropriate information to the right group of people.

Targeting content on your intranet can make it feel more relevant for your users. Plus, employees are more productive when they can quickly get to content that is most relevant.

Currently, Audience Targeting can be enabled in the following out-of-the-box modern SharePoint features:

  • Navigation (Not GA yet)
  • News Web Part
  • Highlighted Content Web Part

One thing to note about Audience Targeting is that it is not the same thing as Permissions. If a user performs a search query via the search bar, they may be able to see targeted content. Create a proper plan for when content needs to be targeted versus completely hiding from users.

Create an Audience

Before targeting content to specific audiences, the first step is to configure audiences. An audience can include an Office 365 Group or a security group created through the Microsoft Admin center.

Enabling Audience Targeting for a library

  1. Go to the library where you’d like to use audience targeting.
  2. Go to Library Settings
  3. Select the Enable audience targeting checkbox, and select OK

Once Audience Targeting is enabled for a library, a new column will appear in the library called “Audience”. This will automatically get added to the default view as well. Audiences can be edited via the library through the details pane or while a page is being created, if this option was turned on for the Site Pages Library.

Create a news story

  1. From the site’s command bar, select “+ New” and then select News Post.
  2. Start creating your posts by adding needed web parts and content.
  3. Select Page Details from the command bar. In the panel that opens, underneath Properties, you’ll now see “Audience.” Add the group or an individual you’re targeting with the news article.

Enabling Audience Targeting for a web part

Once the library and the news post have been set up to be targeted, the last step is to Enable audience targeting in the web part. Currently, the only two web parts this feature is available in are the Highlighted Content web part and the News web part. Microsoft has released Audience Targeting for the navigation, but it isn’t generally available yet.

  1. Edit the page with the news web part to display the targeted news
  2. Edit the News web part
  3. In the Filter section, turn on Enable audience targeting [image of edit panel]
  4. Republish the page

Once you’ve completed this, the news web part will only display items that are targeted to the logged-in user’s specific groups. Items that have not been specifically targeted will also display in the web part.


Why Audience Targeting Matters

Information growth at first glance seems like a great thing. The more information the better, right? While this is true, there’s a big ‘IF’. The growth of information within an organization is beneficial IF there’s a way to deliver this information to the right user. At a certain point, information growth can get so troublesome that it starts to negatively impact employee productivity. Without tools like audience targeting, you run the risk of increasing operational costs as a result of employees’ time wasted sifting through content to find the information they need.

Find-ability of information is really about connecting people with the right content, at the right time, in the right place in a way that is simple, and Audience Targeting is one of many features that Microsoft has developed to help organizations improve upon this.

Are your employees able to find what they need? Are you ready to empower them with a digital workspace that delivers relevant and personalized content so they can be as productive as possible? Chat with one of our SharePoint experts today!

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