Had an issue with Audiences in Sharepoint 2010, Kept getting the error “There were problems searching audience, please contact the system administrator.” whenever I tried to add/target an audience in my Sharepoint 2010 in the Top Navigation.

What this error normally/really means is that Sharepoint cannot connect to the User Profile Service Application Proxy (You would get a similar error if your Enterprise search was trying to crawl your user profiles) or the User Profile Synchronization Serive (UPSS), which was my case.

To fix this you need to

  1. Open “Central Administration”
  2. Click “Application Management”
  3. Click “Manage Web Applications”
  4. Find and click on the “Web Application” or “Website” you are getting the error in (in my case ‘sharepoint -80′)
  5. Click “Service Connections” under the “Manage” ribbon
  6. Make sure that “User Profile Service Application” is checked (you may have to change from default to custom to be able to do this). This MIGHT be unchecked if you have recently deleted the default User Profile Service Application and created a new one using a different name, like I did, AND the Connection is NOT set to Default!!
"This worked great. The only other thing you need to do that wasn’t mentioned above is go to services in CA and make sure the user profile service is started.
Hope this helps someone else out there cos this took me 5 hours to figure out!
Dave