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About target audiences

This feature is currently available for the Google Drive and Docs and Google Chat services.

Supported editions for this feature: (Drive, Docs, & Chat) Business Plus; Enterprise Standard and Enterprise Plus; Education Standard and Education Plus; Enterprise Essentials and Enterprise Essentials Plus. (Drive & Docs only) Business Standard; Nonprofits; 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 or Chat, to encourage users to share items with a more specific or limited audience rather than your entire organization. 

Why use target audiences?

Target audiences provide users with another way to share their items, in addition to sharing with your entire organization or sharing directly with users or groups. With admin-recommended audiences, you can:

  • Improve the security and privacy of your data—Target audiences give users more control over how broadly they share their items. This can help improve the security of your organization’s data, and the privacy of a user's data, by reducing the potential for users to accidentally overshare their files, Chat discoverable spaces, or other items.
  • Make it easier for users to share appropriately—Target audiences can reduce your users' need to enter groups and specific users to share with and to respond to access requests. Instead, target audiences allow users to easily broaden access to items without worrying about security, since these audiences are approved by their administrator. Moreover, sharing with a target audience doesn't send sharing notifications to audience members, making these audiences convenient for broad sharing.

Availability of target audiences

Target audiences are currently available only for:

This feature will be available for other Google services in a later release.

How it works: An example for Drive

Target audiences provide an easy and convenient way for users to share items more appropriately. As an example, assume you want to create a target audience for your company's 3 regional Sales teams teams so they can more easily link-share Drive files with each other, without sharing them with your entire company.

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Overview: Set up a target audience
  1. Create the target audience 

    Start by specifying the audience's name and description. For this example, you might name the audience “Sales Teams” and add a description, such as “Includes members of all regional Sales teams.” Your sales teams will see the name and description in their Drive sharing settings. For details, see Create a target audience.

  2. Add members to the target audience

    You can add groups or individual users as members. For this example, you would add all groups for your regional Sales teams as members. For details, see Add members to a target audience.

  3. Apply your target audiences to a Google service

    For this example, you’d go to your Drive sharing settings in the Admin console and select the parent organizational unit for the Sales teams to create a policy. Then you’d select the "Sales Teams" target audience for your policy and drag it to the primary (default) sharing option for Drive files. For details, see Set target audiences for a Google service.

User experience for link sharing

When a user included in your target audience policy wants to provide access to a file in Drive, the primary target audience—in this case, "Sales Teams"—appears as the first link-sharing option in the “Get link” section of the file's sharing dialog:

Find a target audience under Get link.

Users are encouraged to share with the "Sales Teams" audience. But they still have the flexibility to share with other available target audiences instead, or share directly with specific users and groups.

Users can also limit the ability to search for their files to just members of the target audience, by selecting the option in the link settings:

Allow only members of a target audience to search for a file.

Before you begin

Review important information about target audiences

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Sharing options for users without a supported edition

When you create a target audience in the Admin console, you can only add users who have a Google Workspace edition that supports target audiences. 

When a user without a supported edition tries to share a Drive file, they won’t see the target audiences you create as a sharing option. They only see users from your whole organization. The primary target audience (contains all of your organization’s users) is the default sharing option for users who don’t have a supported edition.

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, target audiences can't be used for any other purposes, such as mailing lists, forums, or configuring access to services.
  • You can't use target audiences as members of other groups or target audiences.
  • 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.
  • Target audiences have benefits over regular groups for sharing with broad audiences. See "Why use target audiences?" above.
Types of groups you can add as target audience members

You can use any type of groups as members of a target audience, including:

  • Admin-created groups, such as security groups and dynamic groups (if included with your Google Workspace edition)
  • Non-admin-created groups, including groups your users create or external groups

Note: Currently, Chat discoverable spaces can't include external members. If a user shares a discoverable space with a target audience that includes external members, those members can't access it.

For tips on using different types of groups, go to Best practices for deploying target audiences.

Which users can see a target audience's details

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 (Drive only): If members are outside your organization, they can see the audience's details if you allow your users to share items for a Google service externally. In this case, make sure an audience's name and description don't contain sensitive or confidential information.

  • (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

Where you can apply a target audience policy

To make target audiences available to users, you create a policy for an organizational unit for an organizational unit or configuration group:

  • For Drive users, you can create policies for any organizational units or configuration groups.
  • For Chat discoverable spaces, you can create a policy only for your top-level organizational unit.
Which items users can share with a target audience

Once you've created a target audience policy for users, they can share any items they own with that target audience, such as a document in My Drive or a Chat discoverable space. 

How target audiences work with shared drives

Shared drives always get their target audience policies from your top-level organizational unit, not child organizational units. If you create target audience policies for child organizational units, different target audiences might be available for files in users' My Drive as compared to files in shared drives.

Which admin privileges you need to manage target audiences
To... You need these admin privileges...
  • Create a target audience
  • Edit a target audience's details
  • Add groups as members of a target audience
  • Remove members of a target audience
Add individual users as members to a target audience

Groups and Users > Read

Apply a target audience to a Google service Service Settings or the settings privileges for that specific service
Tip: If you want a delegated admin to manage target audiences, grant them both the Groups Admin role and Services Admin role. Or, create a custom admin role for them with just the privileges you want them to have.
How to view 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.

Review best practices

In our best practices guide, you'll find recommendations for creating target audiences, adding members, and creating target audience policies. You'll also find examples of typical deployment scenarios.

See Best practices for deploying target audiences.

Next steps

Create a target audience

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