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The RICE framework: a prioritisation for growth marketing

Article originally published in February 2022 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in October 2023.

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What is the RICE framework?

The RICE framework, or RICE score, is one of a number of prioritisation frameworks used by growth marketers to identify high impact marketing experiments.

Prioritisation frameworks are used by product teams, growth teams and marketing teams to prioritise high-impact work and projects. These frameworks take into consideration a number of factors in order to generate a score, which can be used to evaluate the priority with which different tasks should be undertaken.

“Growth is a function of maintaining a cadence of testing, and keeping the team focused on the best opportunities for that testing”

Sean Ellis

Prioritisation Frameworks

There are a number of prioritisation frameworks, or scoring frameworks available to modern growth teams and marketing teams. The most popular frameworks along with their individual scoring factors are shown below.

FrameworkDeveloped byScoring factors
RICESean McBride at IntercomReach, Impact, Confidence, Effort
ICESean Ellis at GrowthHackersImpact, Confidence, Effort
PIEChris Goward at WiderFunnelPotential, Importance, Ease
HiPPOn/aHighest paid person’s opinion
BRASSDavid Arnoux at Growth TribeBlink, Relevance, Availability, Scalability, Score
HIPEJeff Chang at PinterestHypothesis, Investment, Precedent, Experience
DICETJeff Mignon at PentalogDollars (or revenue) generated, Impact, Confidence, Ease, Time-to-money
PXLPeep Laja at CXLAbove the fold, noticeable within 5 sec, high traffic pages, ease of implemention and more.
Prioritisation frameworks for growth

The frameworks include a number of factors that combine to produce a numeric score – the higher the score, the higher priority, and the earlier the experiment should be done. The end result for growth marketers and growth marketing teams being a prioritised to-do list of the best opportunities to test.

Introducing the RICE score

The RICE framework was first introduced by Sean McBride, a former product manager at Intercom. The framework adds an additional ‘Reach’ factor to the traditional ICE framework. Scoring is therefore based on Reach, Impact, Confidence and Effort.

  • R = Reach
  • I = Impact
  • C = Confidence
  • E = Effort
  • Score = (R x I x C) / E
FactorDescription
ReachHow many people will this affect within a given period? Depending on your team or company goal, this could be the number of new visitors per month, or subscribers per quarter, or quote requests per year.
ImpactHow much impact will this have on individual users? For example, how much could this change impact the quote request conversion rate? This is measured on a multiple choice scale:

Massive impact = 3x
High impact = 2x
Medium impact = 1x
Low impact = 0.5x
Minimal impact = 0.25x
ConfidenceWhat level of confidence do you have in your estimates? Do you have data to backup your prediction? Have you done something similar before, or know someone else that has?

High confidence = 100%
Medium confidence = 80%
Low confidence = 50%
EffortThe total amount of time (typically in days) a project will require to make live. This should include any other teams that may need to be involved before it is launched – development, engineering, product marketing, product management etc.

Calculating a RICE Score

The final RICE score is calculated using the following formula:

(Reach * Impact * Confidence) / Effort

RICE score example spreadsheet by Intercom
Source: RICE score example spreadsheet by Intercom

A RICE framework example

As an example, let’s apply the RICE model to this article. Based on AHREFS data, the term ‘rice score’ receives about 300 searches/month in the UK, and over 3000 globally.

Ahrefs keyword difficulty for 'rice score'
Ahrefs keyword difficulty for ‘rice score’

It’s a middle-of-funnel term for us, as people searching for it are likely growth marketers that are looking into prioritisation models.

Ahrefs SERP overview for 'rice score'
Ahrefs SERP Overview for ‘rice score’

We can see the top search results, with traffic ranging for 15 to over 300 views per month on page 1, although clearly many of these domains have far higher domain authority than us.

Using the RICE framework the team scored this idea as follows:

  • Reach – we estimate 100 people within our 6 week experiment cycle. We’re a new site at this point, so unlikely to outrank the likes of Intercom.
  • Impact – 1, or medium. It’s a bottom-of-funnel term.
  • Confidence – 80% (or medium. We have a reasonable amount of SEO and ranking experience, hence are reasonably confident of the above.
  • Effort – 0.5, as this will take well under a month, probably more like a day

So, we end up with 50x1x0.8% / 0.5, which gives us a RICE score of 20.

RICE prioritisation in Growth Method

The Growth Method app includes the ability to prioritise marketing and growth ideas. This is currently based on the ICE (Impact, Confidence, Effort) framework that we are exploring the ability to add additional scoring frameworks (such as RICE) in addition to allowing custom frameworks.

prioritisation in Growth Method with RICE on roadmap

Resources

Recommended additional reading on the RICE scoring framework and prioritisation in general.

Final thoughts

For growth marketing teams, the specifics of the various different scoring frameworks, and their pros and cons matters far less than picking one and implementing it within your team.

Creativity combined with rapid iteration are the keys to making progress on user growth. Remember that you can get to 10X growth by a combination of 2Xing a few different metrics, hitting one out of the park, or getting 10% increases across the board. They all multiply together to be 10X. If you can brainstorm a lot of ideas, going for quantity over quality, you’ll have a lot of ideas to evaluate for impact versus cost.

Andrew Chen

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