ICE Scoring Model

by Foti Panagiotakopoulos Founder at GrowthMentor

Table of Contents

Many business decision-makers have turned to the ICE scoring model to judge the growth potential of their prospective projects. 

But what is the ICE scoring model? And how can the ICE method help you to choose projects and features that will boost revenues? 

We’ll answer these questions and introduce you to a scoring system that will change the way you go about assessing business opportunities.

What is the ICE Scoring Method?

ICE stands for Impact, Confidence and Ease and was developed by Sean Ellis at GrowthHackers. The scoring model helps business owners better understand how to prioritize resources and decide which projects to take on.

This framework is simple to use. You assess a prospective feature or project in terms of its Impact, Confidence and Ease and then assign each element a score from 1-10. 

You simply need to multiply the scores together so that you arrive at a relative score for the project’s worthiness. 

Formula:

ICE Score = Impact * Confidence * Ease

The ICE approach is a relative scoring method. This means the resulting score won’t give you an indication of how desirable a project is straight away. 

You’ll need to repeat the ICE test on all possible features and rank them from highest to lowest.

What does each category mean? 

As we mentioned before, ICE is an acronym. It stands for: 

  • Impact: This refers to how well the feature or project will help you reach your business goals. Relevant questions include: How much of an impact will the feature make on a target metric? How much do you expect the project to resonate with your customers? How much will this asset help improve the customer experience?
  • Confidence: This is a measure of a project’s riskiness. How confident are you that the project will have the impact you’d like it to have? How do you determine a score for risk? We recommend writing down a list of possible outcomes and judging how likely it is that a negative result will occur. If the end score is low, this likely means that you’re less confident in the value of the project.  
  • Ease: How easy will it be to implement this project or feature? Products that take time to develop or require lots of resources tend to be less desirable. 

For each category, you’ll need to give your target project a score. A low score means a low impact or high difficulty, and a high score suggests the opposite. The final ICE score will determine the relative rank of a project. 

Example of ICE Score in Practice

For this, imagine we’re a music streaming app developer who is looking to add some new features. Our main goals are to increase listening time and attract new customers from competitors.

Our team has come up with three ideas, but you can only pursue one: 

  • Dynamic album art that changes depending on the time of the day.
  • A new algorithm that suggests songs users have heard on social media sites like TikTok or Instagram.
  • Import playlists from other platforms and devices straight to your app.

Dynamic album art shouldn’t be too difficult to implement. As you’re a developper, it also wouldn’t take considerable resources to realise the project. That said, this feature doesn’t advance our business goals too much as it’s not a feature that will win users over. 

Impact: 1, Confidence: 1, Ease: 9. 

ICE Score: 

1 * 1 * 9 = 9

An algorithm is difficult and time-consuming to develop. There are many variables and a complex recommendation system like this can easily go wrong. However, the potential impact of such a project is huge. This feature could dramatically increase listening time and it’s sure to offer your customers a new use case. 

Impact: 8, Confidence: 3, Ease: 1. 

ICE Score: 

8 * 3 * 1 = 24

Finally, how about importing playlists from other platforms? This could be a great way to remove a barrier to switching to your service, but it isn’t a unique selling point by any means. It’s fairly easy to implement and we’re sure the feature will be used by users transitioning to our app. 

Impact: 5, Confidence: 6, Ease: 6. 

ICE Score: 

5 * 6 * 6 = 180

And there we have it – an order of priority! The ICE scoring method helps you pick the projects and features that are safe bets.

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Suggested mentors to help you make sense of ICE Scoring Model

Michael Taylor

Marketing Memeticist

Data-driven, technical marketer with 11 years experience, 8,000 experiments run, and $50m optimized across all 4 major growth channels. Author of Marketing Memetics, Co-Founder at Vexpower, Ex-Founder at Ladder.

Dimitris Lianoudakis

SaaS Intrapreneur

I am the product of the relationships I have built, the countries I have lived and worked in, and the people I have shared that time with. An entrepreneur and analyst at heart with a strong belief in repeating successful actions that bring constant value to the customer.

Kuba Rdzak

Growth @ Juo.io 🧑🏽‍🚀🚀 • Growth Marketer, Media Buyer & certified Team Manager • Top 1% CXL • Ex-Ladder.io

Hello! I’m Kuba and I’d love to help you grow and overcome challenges 🙂 I’ve spent 70+ hours helping Mentees. I also helped 150+ companies with finding PMF or GTM strategies, scaling paid ads (Facebook, LinkedIn etc.), PPC, tracking, CRO and marketing automation. Check my reviews and let’s meet! 🙂

Jason Barbato

Growth, Inbound, Product Marketer. Advisor and Mentor. Former Best-In-Class Enterprise Growth Hacker at IBM.

Currently a SaaS and startup growth consultant and Senior Director of Growth at HYPR. Former VP of Growth at Orange Pegs, an award-winning growth agency. From 2016-2019 I developed, launched, and scaled a $40M+ growth hacking program at IBM, running 200+ experiments across the Cloud marketplace.

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