About target audiences (beta)

Supported editions for this feature: Business Starter, Standard, and Plus; Enterprise; Education and Enterprise for Education; G Suite Business.  Compare your edition

Target audiences are groups of people—such as departments or teams—that you can recommend for users to share their items with. You can add them to users' sharing settings in a Google service, such as Google Drive, to encourage users to share items with a specific audience rather than your entire organization. With admin-recommended audiences, sharing is more controlled, which can help improve the security of your organization’s data by reducing the potential for users to accidentally overshare their files or other items.

Target audiences are also convenient for users. They can reduce the need for users to enter groups and users to share with and respond to access requests.

Target audiences availability

Target audiences are currently available only for Google Drive and Docs. This feature will be available for other Google services in a later release.

Target audiences example

​Target audiences provide an easy way for users to share items more appropriately. For example, when a user wants to provide access to a file in Drive, target audiences appear as recommended link-sharing options in the “Get link” section of the file's sharing dialog. Below, a target audience that includes a company's Sales and Marketing teams was applied to Drive and set as the default target audience:

Note: Link-sharing options provide access to items but they don't automatically send sharing notifications to others. 

How to use target audiences

Here are the basic steps for creating and using target audiences with a Google service:

  1. Create a target audience by specifying its name and description. Learn more
  2. Add groups or individual users as members of the target audience. Learn more

    Note: Target audiences usually work best when they have a large membership, such as a department or larger team. That way, the target audience still encourages broad sharing in your organization while preventing everyone in your organization from having unnecessary access to items.

  3. Apply up to 3 target audiences to a Google service, by creating a policy for an organizational unit or configuration group. Learn more

Users can share items with any of the target audiences you apply to a service; however, they can share with only one target audience at a time. Users can also share items directly with specific people or groups (to send them a sharing notification), in addition to or instead of a target audience. 

How target audiences differ from other groups

  • You can use target audiences only as sharing options in users' sharing settings for a Google service—for example, link-sharing options for Drive. Unlike the other types of groups you can create with your Groups service, target audiences can't be used for any other purposes, such as mailing lists, forums, or configuring access to services.
  • You can't specify owners and set group access options directly for target audiences. 
  • Users can't create or make any changes to target audiences.

Visibility of target audiences

A target audience's name and description appear in a Google service's sharing settings for:

  • The users in your organization for whom you applied a policy with the target audience
  • Members of a target audience when an item is shared with them

    Important: If members are outside your organization, they can see the audience only if you allow your users to share items for a Google service externally.

  • (Google Drive) Anyone with Commenter or Editor access to a file that has the target audience selected, even if they're not members of the audience

Note: Target audiences for a Google service don't appear in the Google Groups interface for users, at groups.google.com

Admin privileges for managing target audiences

  • You need the Groups admin privilege to create a target audience, edit an audience's details, add member groups, or remove members.
  • You need both the Groups and Users > Read admin privileges to add individual users as members to a target audience.
  • You need the Service Settings admin privilege or the settings privileges for a specific service to apply a target audience to a Google service. 

Tip: If you want a delegated admin to manage target audiences, create a custom admin role for them with all of these privileges.

Audit logs for target audiences

You can view a record of target audience actions that users and admins performed:

  • To see user actions to create, update, and delete target audiences, go to the Groups Enterprise audit log
  • To see admin actions to create and delete target audience settings (policies) for a Google service (such as Drive and Docs), go to the Admin audit log.

    Note: For an Application Setting Change action, the Admin audit log currently shows a target audience's ID instead of its name.

Next steps

Create a target audience

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