Using audience news targeting in SharePoint Online

Dart on a dartboard

Microsoft are regularly adding new features and functionality to SharePoint Online. With the new modern SharePoint experience, there is a great focus on enhancing end user experience and modernising the content editing experience for staff that publish pages, news posts, document libraries and more.

One of the recent announcements, was the launch of news targeting for SharePoint. Previously a complex scenario for such a frequently requested feature of an intranet, Microsoft have now released a modern news targeting experience that allows editors to easily choose who sees specific news posts.

When is this coming?

This is currently being rolled out to all Office 365 and SharePoint Online customers, starting with those that have opted-in for Targeted Release, and should be complete by the end of 2019. You can check timescales for any new feature on the Microsoft 365 roadmap.

When would I use this?

This feature allows you to choose who sees what news content and target specific groups of people – for example only showing regional news to members of that regional group or targeting by department. Rather than publishing and promoting news to everyone, this allows news article and content to be more tailored and delivers a personalised experience. You can choose audience members based on Office 365 Groups or an Azure AD Group, which ensures that group management remains in one place and is easier to manage. 

How do I set this up?

If you tenant has targeted news enabled, then you can step this up following these steps:

Step 1: Enable audience targeting on the Site Pages library

Library settings > Audience targeting settings > Enable Audience Targeting

SharePoint-enabling-audience-targeting

Step 2: Enable audience targeting on a News web part

Edit the page > web part settings

SharePoint-web-part-settings

Step 3: Target an Office 365 group or an Azure AD group in the page settings

  1. Create a page or a news post as normal
  2. Edit the page, and on the toolbar, click Page details
  3. In the Page details pane, in the Audience field, type the name of the group
  4. Publish the page as normal

SharePoint-News-post

SharePoint-audience-members

Step 4: Sit back and enjoy

Members of the targeted group will see the page in their news feed. Non-members will not.

SharePoint-News-Home

Conclusion

Audience targeting is a powerful feature that has been added to SharePoint and helps to continue its journey towards being a modern intranet solution. What has previously been a clunky editing experience that required technical input and specialist knowledge, is becoming more and more intuitive with modern web standards, enhanced user experience and powerful tools that enable work to fulfil their requirements without extensive development.

We recommend experimenting with audience targeting to see its benefits and test it before using across your site. If you’re still using the classic SharePoint experience, then we recommend reviewing the modern SharePoint experience - you can compare the strengths and weaknesses of each in our guide: Modern vs Classic SharePoint. If you would like to move from classic to modern sites, then get in touch to discuss how this could be approached.

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