Creating Targets In Backstage

Using Backstage, you can manage who sees and receives certain items within the app based on their participant characteristics using the target feature. The target feature is a powerful tool that allows you to use these participant characteristics to control which participants can see sessions, receive messages, and more.

This tip sheet is a step-by-step guide for working with targets to expose items within the app to specific participants or groups using Backstage or Microsoft Excel®.

Introduction to Targets

A target is a condition that specifies how an item within the app (a session, a message, etc.) will function for each participant based on a specific participant characteristic. Targets allow items to be displayed or hidden to the participant or group of participants based on the condition(s) set.

Content within the app can be set so that only participants with certain characteristics in their participant profile can access it. The means by which we provide this access to participants is called targets.

Getting Started with Targets

In order to target content to participants, you must have two components in place. The first is a characteristic (or metadata field) in place on the people module. The second is the content itself.

Participant Characteristic

The participant characteristic is a field in the people module that you will be using to target access to the content. This could be any characteristic tied to a participant record, including location, business unit, class selection, etc. As long as you can provide a value or a definitive null value for all participants, you can use the participant characteristic within their record.


The content that will be targeted to the specific group must be uploaded to the corresponding module within Backstage. Content that can be targeted in the app includes (but is not limited to) the following:

                 • Sessions
                 • Messages
                 • Documents
                 • Shelves
                 • Menu Items


Targets are meant to define which participant or group of participants should see a given content piece. Additionally, the targets feature includes a function called "exceptions". Exceptions are the inverse of targets in the sense that they define a participant or group of participants who should not have access to or receive the content. The exceptions function always displays directly below the targets function.

Common Uses of Targets 

Targets can be used in a variety of ways. Two of the most common uses are for customized agendas and targeted messages.

Customized Agendas

Customized agendas allow each participant to have their own unique agenda with the sessions that they are expected to attend. This allows you to make a large agenda easier to digest for the participants. Customized agendas can be created by setting a participant characteristic for each optional session or group of sessions and then set a target for the value of the corresponding participant characteristic on a given session.


Targeted Messages

Targeted messages allow for you to send a message to a specific participant or groups of participants based on a participant characteristic. A targeted message is achieved by setting a target for the value of the corresponding participant characteristic on a given message.

Targeted Surveys

Targeted surveys allow requests for feedback to be delivered to participants based on participant characteristics. This is useful when you want to garner feedback from a select group of participants. The targets feature can be used to deliver surveys based on session attendance, sponsor visits, or any other method that utilizes participant characteristics for tracking purposes.

Setting the Participant Characteristic in Backstage

A participant characteristic is a value that is provided in a given field on the participant record. Custom fields can be created for participant records by editing the metadata fields in the person module.

Metadata Fields

A metadata field is any field that exists within the participant records. These include generic fields such as "First Name" and "City", but can be as diverse as "Class 1 Participation" or "Activity Selection".

A new metadata field can be created in Backstage using the following steps:


• Open the Setup menu in the event in Backstage.
• Select Manage metadata. Choose the Person metadata manager.
• At the bottom of this view, click +Add a new field. A new line item will appear.
• Enter the computer-friendly name in the leftmost field (Field Name). All characters should be lowercase, underscores should be used in place of spaces, and no special characters should be used.
• Enter the display-friendly name in the second field (Backstage Label). Capitalization, spaces, and special characters can all be used.
• Select the type of field to be used from the drop-down (Field Kind). If the field will be a simple text-entry field or you are unsure of what type of field this should be select Default.
• Click Save Changes.

The new field will now appear in participant records in Backstage, as shown by the "Class 1", "Class 2", and "Class 3" fields below. Note that this does not mean that the field will display within the participant profile in the app.


Creating Targets in Backstage

Once the participant characteristics have been set within the corresponding fields, a target can be placed on the content to display or hide it for users accordingly. Targets can be created for content directly in Backstage.

Setting the Target

Once you have navigated to the content that you wish to target, you can follow these steps to set the target:


  • Click on the Settings icon to open up the target menu;
  • Where it says "Add a condition to match", select the field from the participant records that you would like to target from the dropdown menu and click "Add". The field name will be added to the target menu with a blank field appearing after it.
  • Enter the value of the field from the participant record that you would like the target to match.
  • Click "OK"
  • If you would like the target to match multiple values for the given field, repeat there steps for as many values as you would like the target to match.


Creating Targets in Microsoft Excel

Targets can also be created for content by importing a spreadsheet into Backstage.

Setting Up your Spreadsheet

The first step to importing targets using Excel is to prepare the participant and targeted content data so that it is in the proper format for importing into Backstage. To explain how to do this, we’ll use targeted session data as an example.

In the participant data, include the fields that have the participant characteristics, as shown by the "class_1", "class_2", and "class_3" fields below.


In the session data, include the targets within the corresponding columns. As you can see below, the proper way to label the column headers for targets in this is example is "targets.0.class_1", "targets.0.class_2", and "targets.0.class_3".


Within the target header, the 'targets" refers to the function, meaning that we want to set the value in the corresponding cell as a target.

Target Header in Microsoft Excel
For the target header
- "targets" = function - "0" = order/1st position
- "class_1" = property

The "0" refers to the position of the target. Be aware that the first target’s order starts from 0 and not 1 in Backstage. This means that this is the first target in the series. If we wanted to target Class 1 to two different groups, we would have to create columns for "targets.0.class_1" and "targets.1.class_1" so that we could have two values targeted for the given session.

Finally, "class_1" refers to the field name of the metadata that we’re targeting, in this case, the session "Class 1".

Align the target values to the corresponding rows and columns within the spreadsheet. Once all targets have been entered, save the spreadsheet and use the import tool to import the information into Backstage.

Once you have completed the import, view your content in Backstage and confirm that the targets were implemented properly.

Testing Targets

Once the targets have been applied to the content, it’s important to test that they function as expected. Testing methods will differ based on content, but you should always be sure to test the targeted content on a device so that you can visually confirm the correct participants have access to the correct content.

Customized Agendas

Customized agendas can be tested by activating the app as both a participant who is supposed to see the content and as a participant who is not supposed to see the content. Participants who should be seeing the content should see the session within their agenda and the session should have a checkmark in the upper right-hand corner of the session listing (see the "In Target" graphic below). Participants who should not be seeing the content should not see the session at all within their agenda (see the "Not in Target") graphic below).

When using custom agendas, it is not necessary to test every single session for every single participant. However, be sure to be thorough in testing and make sure that you test that each of the sessions is working as expected for at least one participant who should be seeing it and one who should not be seeing it.

Targeted Messages and Surveys

Targeted messages and surveys can be tested by activating the app as a participant who will be receiving the targeted message or survey and fast-forwarding the time on the device past the time the message or survey should be received. Once the time on the device has been moved past the send time of the message or survey, you should see it appearing in the participant’s inbox upon re-entering the app. Be sure to reset your device time to "Automatic" once you finish testing.


Targets based on existence of a field

You can also target sessions or surveys depending if participant's metadata field has a value or not. To do this use *has_field* as the target value when setting up your target.

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