The Audience Builder in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a way to create specific groups of people to send emails to, as well as further split that group up into smaller more targeted groups for different email content.
There is an official overview on the ExactTarget help pages (Public), as well as an online course with video walkthroughs in the course catalog of the 3sixty website (private). The videos, although professionally created, are a bit hard to follow owing to the user interface having been recently revamped. There is also a ‘certification’ exam, which is rather easy if you had been paying attention through the course. I can see the exam being useful if you need to verify if someone actually knows how Audience Builder hangs together.
The first question would be where to find it? It does have to be enabled by ExactTarget, and if it has then you should see it under Data & Analytics (and if you can’t then you need to contact ExactTarget).
Before diving in, it is probably helpful to get familiar with some of the terms that are used in Audience Builder, such as Universe, Population and Contact. I made a quick cheat sheet to help remember, although if your attributes and dimensions are already set up then you just have to use them rather than know how to define them.
Once you have that, then you must understand how Segments work on your resultant Audience. You should note how Priority between segments work, as well as Waterfall suppression of which Audience members enter which segment. This will help avoid unexpected questions about why certain members were not included in an intended email mailing.
If you’re now comfortable with that, it is worth to just look at the Audience Builder screen to get an idea how it works. The Overview screen just shows a long list of all currently defined Audiences:
If you go ahead and click any of these, then the Summary tab has everything that you would expect, which is a high level breakdown of your Audience, including how much of the Population your Audience is using and what is its current Segmentation:
The Filter tab is also straightforward. It defines the rule or rules that make up your Audience before segmenting. In this case all males between certain ages:
The Segment screen allows you to further split up your Audience. You don’t need to actually define any Segments, however you can edit or add new Segments here if you wish. You can check the impact (in terms of Audience numbers) of any change here. Again, Waterfall Suppression comes in effect here, with priority to the lowest numbered Segments in the list.
Finally when you are ready, you can Preview or Publish your Audience on the Publish tab:
Once your Audience is published, then you are ready to start defining emails to send to them, as well as particular variations on each segment.
There is a good deal more detail if you drill down into each screen, however I feel that the online course will do it more justice. If you have access to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud then you should be able to see all the details in the associated 3sixty course.