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Bid farewell the Boost backlog

InfoDec 2, 2022, 10:53:30 PM

The #1 problem with Boosts: Boosts are too popular.

As some would say, "that's a good problem to have," but it's still a big problem that fundamentally boils down to a simple fact: More people want Boosts than there are Boosts to go around. The result is that (1) Boosts can sometimes take days to complete, and (2) they still often end up "rejected" because the views can't be fulfilled in time.

We've mulled multiple options for solving this problem, but the "easy" solutions (e.g. limiting channels to one Boost at a time, or lowering the max tokens you can spend at once) amount to rationing a scarce resource, which is not a long-term, scalable solution. More to the point, those changes don't make Boosts better.

A long-term solution that improves Boosts needs to (1) make Boosts faster to serve, and (2) reliably serve them to completion. We're actively building a solution we call Boost bidding, and in addition to a new option to pay for Boosts with cash, the new system includes three main differences to the Boosts you currently know and love.

Audience targeting

When creating a new Boost, you'll first be prompted to select the audience you want to see your Boost. The "Safe" audience targets the largest, most general audience on Minds. Cat memes and original artwork are great for the "Safe" audience. The "Controversial" audience targets community members who have opted into seeing more spicy content on Minds, including content that's political in nature or likely to be controversial to a family-friendly audience. And while these are the two targeting options we're starting with, we're evaluating additional audience options for the future – let us know what audiences you'd like to reach.

(Did you know? You can already select which audience you're part of by turning on "Open content" in your Boost settings.)

If I'm making a Boost promoting a science fiction book I'm working on, I'll target the "Safe" audience since it's generally family-friendly. If I'm making a Boost promoting a political opinion or spicy cultural take (like "Cowboy Bebop is boring"), I'll target the "Controversial" audience that has opted into seeing more contentious content.

Controversial content that targets the "Safe" audience will get rejected. This gives the Minds community better control over what content they see in their feeds and should result in better engagement for creators given the more relevant audience matching.

Boost bidding

The second big change is how Boosts are priced. Currently, the price of Boosts is fixed at 1 token for 1,000 views. But as more tokens enter circulation, we experience increasing strain on the availability of Boosts, resulting in long backlogs and the inability to serve all Boosts.

To eliminate those problems, the price of views needs to be dynamic, going up and down in relation to demand for the available Boost inventory. And since each targetable audience has its own inventory capacity and demand, the price for views will dynamically adjust to match your chosen audience.

With the new system, you still decide up front how much you want to spend. What's different is that the estimated reach of your Boost is dynamically calculated based on demand. The pool of available Boost views each day is divvied up between all Boost buyers, relative to how much they bid, with cash bids favored 2:1. To illustrate this, each of these charts below represent the pool of available Boost views for a given day, with different buyers spending different amounts and divvying up the pie accordingly.

Boost duration

The third big change to Boosts is that you'll be able to spread out your budget over multiple days. So rather than ordering a Boost, setting a budget, and getting all of your views in one blast, you can now optionally choose to spread out your Boost over multiple days. For example, you can bid 5 tokens for a Boost to run over one day and get your views in 24 hours after approval, OR you can budget 1 token per day and spread out your views over 5 days for the same 5 token spend. 

We know this new Boost bidding system is a big change, and frankly it's a long time coming. The current state of Boosts is simply not sustainable. We love Boosts as much as you do, and we think the new system brings the changes required to make Boosts future proof and make Boost better.

Faster delivery, guaranteed completion, control over which audience you target, the option to pay with cash, and the ability to spread out your Boost over multiple days. That's the future of Boosts, and we're building it right now.

Follow our progress on Gitlab.