When designing collaborative portal solutions, you must make relevant information readily accessible to the users who require it to perform their tasks. An efficient way to do this is to categorize users into groups, called audiences, on the basis of their common properties and then target specific content to the relevant audiences. For example, consider that you need to disseminate announcements to employees located in different locations and performing different tasks. You can segregate the employees as different audiences based on either their location or division, and then target specific announcements to the relevant audiences.
In MOSS 2007, SSP administrators can define audiences on the Application Management page for the core services of a server farm. The three types of audiences that SSP administrators can define are SharePoint groups, global audiences, and distributed lists and security groups.
SharePoint groups are formed by associating each group with a set of permission levels for each Site Collection and then adding members to the groups based on their user accounts. The users in each group have common business needs. SSP administrators create new SharePoint groups during initial configuration and deployment of MOSS 2007. These groups can be used to target specific content to the users falling in the selected groups.
Global audiences are audiences based on the properties of user profiles and are managed by SSP administrators. You can use global audiences to target content to users based on properties in their user profiles.
Distribution lists and security groups can be created by different users in an organization, depending on the policies of the organization. You can define audiences based on distribution lists and then target content to users who are members of the included distribution lists. You must also import the properties of distribution lists and security groups used for audiences from Windows security and mail servers and directory services, such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Active Directory service, and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). These properties are imported when user profiles are imported.
The properties in user profiles and their underlying sources change frequently. To ensure that audiences remain up-to-date, SSP administrators must compile audiences and schedule the compilations regularly or when required. You can use Microsoft WSS Extensible Job Service for compiling settings and scheduling for audiences in MOSS 2007.
What do you do when the properties for an audience you have created change? Simple. In the Shared Services under audiences just re-compile the audience.
Keep in mind that an audience can only use properties that are visible to everyone. You cannot use hidden properties to create an audience. Also, you can perform the same tasks as audiences with SharePoint users or groups