MaxDiff is an approach for obtaining preference/importance scores for multiple items. Although MaxDiff shares much in common with conjoint analysis, it is easier to use and applicable to a wider variety of research situations. MaxDiff is also known as "best-worst scaling".

Research has shown that MaxDiff scores demonstrate greater discrimination among items and between respondents on the items.


MaxDiff is an approach for obtaining preference/importance scores for multiple items (brand preferences, brand images, product features, advertising claims, etc.) using marketing or social survey research.

  • MaxDiff (best-worst scaling) experiments
  • Method of Paired Comparisons (MPC) experiments (choices from pairs)
  • Choices from subsets of three items, four items, etc.


  • Message testing
  • Brand preference
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Product features

Designing A Max Diff Study

There are four features of a MaxDiff design that make it such an outstanding tool

Frequency balance : Each item appears an equal number of times as every other item.

Orthogonality : Each item appears an equal number of times with every other item.

Positional balance : Each item appears an equal number of times in the first, second, third, etc., positions within the set.

Connectivity: Each item should be directly or indirectly compared to every other item in the study. It allows all items to be placed on a common scale.

Steps to Design a Max Diff Study

Step 1. Develop attribute list, including possible prohibitions.

Step 2. Decide the number of items per set, the number of sets per respondent, and the number of versions of the questionnaire.

Step 3. Generate Max Diff Design

Step 4. Decide if anchoring is necessary. Anchoring lets you draw a line between important and unimportant items.


At Knowledge Excel, we have the experience to work on various types of Choice based Conjoints like:

  • Standard Max Diff
  • Anchored Max Diff
  • Express Max Diff
  • Augmented Max Diff
  • Sparse Max Diff
  • Tailored Max diff
  • Adaptive Max Diff
  • CBC Fusion Max Diff

Please go into our Demo section to view our sample surveys.


MaxDiff data involve choices: respondents are shown items and asked to choose among them. This kind of data is very useful in marketing and social research applications.

The analysis of this data involves observing the probabilities of choice for the items. These probabilities are represented as customers preference for each item that can be used to rank and/or index these items for relative comparison. Generally it is preferred to index by the highest preferred item, but results can be indexed from average or lowest preferred item as well.

Four types of analysis are offered in the MaxDiff System:

Counting Analysis:

Counting analysis takes into account how often each item was available for choice, and how many times it was selected as best or worst.

Individual-Level Score Estimation:

MaxDiff uses a sophisticated HB estimation technique to produce scores for each respondent on each item. The HB estimation routine is able to stabilize the estimates for each individual by "borrowing" information from the body of respondents in the same data set.

Aggregate Score Estimation via Logit:

Aggregate Logit has been used for more than three decades in the analysis of choice data. It is useful as a top-line diagnostic tool (both to assess the quality of the experimental design and to estimate the average preferences for the sample). Logit can be quite useful for studies in which you are studying very many items and where respondents cannot see each item enough times to support individual-level analysis of scores via HB.

Latent Class Estimation:

Latent Class is often used to discover market segments (for use as banner points) from MaxDiff data. Segment membership is reported on the Segment Membership tab of the output.


The simulator is a stand-alone package that allows clients to conduct alternative “what-if” scenarios. Developed in Excel, a simulator is a powerful analysis tool and the most important deliverable resulting from a max diff project.

The max diff simulator is an effective tool for computing preference share, counts report, average utilities etc. You can also select which items are to be made available to respondents (as if they were in competition with one another within a marketplace).

Simulators transform the utility data from your max diff study into a tangible tool that you and your end-clients can use. Because it is in Excel, you can easily share it with colleagues and end-clients to maximize use.

Below are some screenshots of our Excel Based Simulator:

We also program Web based Max Diff Simulator. Please click on image below to see demo:

Case Studies

Fast Food Chain want to decide the menu option to launch next season.

Every year, Brand X launches new products and flavours for food lovers and give them another reason to visit the restaurant. They are planning to launch a new range of menu in coming season and wish to do research which items would be more preferred to people.

Business Problem:
They have come up with 30 prospective menu option in form of concepts and wish to test the likeability of these.

Our Solution:
We recruited current customers and prospect customers of fast food, introduced them with the concepts and did a max diff study wherein we showed 5 concepts on a screen & asked which food item they liked the most and which they liked the least. From this exercise, we calculated share of preference and computed rank order of the menu options.

The client is able to identify the food items which will be preferred the most. We further did TURF analysis on max diff data to identify reach of each item and bindle which can be launched to capture maximum number of people.



Contact Us

At Knowledge Excel, we have been conducting Max Diff studies for over a decade and know how to use Max Diff to help you obtain the market advantage. Let's connect to discuss your requirements. You can e-mail us at or fill the form below.

Knowledge Excel Services US Address:

  21018 Roaming Shores Terr Ashburn VA 20147, United States
  +1 (315) 642-2662

Knowledge Excel Services India Address:

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  +91 11 43536466