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How many audiences does your implementation of SharePoint have? I'm trying to communicate to my management that audiences are powerful tools for content filtering, but collectively we're getting hung up on the idea that we might have dozens or hundreds of them, and that this might be onerous to manage. My contention is that for a large SharePoint farm, having many multiple audiences based on AD Groups or User Profile properties would be normal.

I work at a university, and I think it would be a natural fit for audiences to describe academic programs (ex. "Bachelor's Degree in English"). The perceived complexity of our audiences would be describing our real-world environment, nothing more.

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We use audiences alot, both for targeting web part content on pages, and for targeting list items like publishing pages to specific targets.

You can also use them to target navigation links on my sites.

Both me and my colleagues use audiences quite alot. They do have some teeth that can bite you, if you want to move your content as they contain guids that are specific for the farm where they are used. This can be fixed as well if you know what you are doing.

They are truely powerfull when used correctly. I love the fact that i can target both on what people are (user profile properties) and what people can access (SharePoint groups, distribution lists and security groups).

What people often misunderstand about audiences are that they do not determine what you can and cannot see (Security) but only what is pushed to you based on the rules of the audience.

You should read the Technet planning documents here to make sure you fully understand the potential of audience targeting.

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