An audience is a special group to which content is targeted so that only people in that audience see it. A user becomes a part of an audience based on profile properties or membership to a distribution list or SharePoint site. Audience content targeting should not be confused with access. Just because a user cannot see an item does not necessarily mean that he does not have access to the item. An audience may exist for members of an organization that work out of a certain region such as Canada. Therefore, by assigning the audience to an announcement related to a special event taking place at the Canadian office, it will only be seen by members of that audience. The following sections give some examples of how you can use audiences.
You can configure certain Web Parts such as the Content Query Web Part, discussed in Chapter 7, to support audience filtering. This means that when you display multiple items in a Web Part, users will see only those that are targeted to them. Figures 9-26 and 9-27 demonstrate examples of filtering list information by audience via a Content Query Web Part. Figure 9-26 is what the team site looks like to a member of the sales team audience, which can view the Sales Strategy document because it's targeted to their audience. Figure 9-27 shows the same site page as viewed by someone who is not a member of the sales team audience. Notice the user does not see the Sales Strategy document even though it exists in the library.