Maxdiff analysis: Definition, Example and How to use it

Blocksurvey blog author
Nov 26, 2021 · 4 mins read

Conducting a survey or research questionnaire is like stepping onto the stage for the time - Overwhelming isn’t it?

With millions of options available on digital platforms, we agree choosing the right one seems like a herculean task to get the right results.

Surveys and research questionnaires are now in prevalence with having great advantages.

But on the other hand, they are also quite confusing, with multiple sets of options ranging from rating to providing us with many kinds of alternatives and so you know the question types you use in your surveys plays important role in increasing the quality of the results.

So, what is Maxdiff analysis?

Maxdiff analysis, also known as Maximum difference scaling, is a research technique used to gauge survey respondents' preference scores for different items, resulting in a best-worst ranking of those attributes.

It has specified choices that make it convenient for the respondents. Maxdiff analysis has only two options; the most and the least. It is similar to Conjoint analysis in many ways.

Why should I use Maxdiff analysis?

Max diff is also called best-worst scaling technique, where the respondents are asked to choose their preferences among very limited options for product features, brands, ad claims, side effects, and so on through a Maxdiff survey question.

Although this approach is slightly more intensive for respondents, it is simply a case of repeatedly asking for the most important attribute from a decreasingly long list of items.

In the case of other scales or analyzing techniques, the target audience or respondents are asked to choose from different kinds of options.

If provided multiple alternatives, people are more likely to rate on the highest and would prefer to answer based on their favorability.

Advantages of Maxdiff analysis:

From choosing the name of your new product or service to understanding user behaviors and patterns, Maxdiff analysis is a one-stop solution that comes with convenience and easy accessibility.

  • You can test numerous items and collect results in one place
  • Prevents biased responses, and it feels like a simple task for the target audience.
  • It has both powerful and robust discrimination

Now let’s speak about the limitations!

Let’s now look into the other side of the coin. If you are about to use Maxdiff analysis, continue reading to find the right fit for you.

  • It can only benefit you if you are adding relevant questions or items.

For example, you can’t ask them to choose their preference by asking a question like, “Sweaters or Jeans for summer.”

  • It will only reduce the quality of the survey as there are more chances of people skipping a question or two.

The length of the survey can be more than it has very minimal options.

The process of using Maxdiff analysis:

Before using Maxdiff analysis,

  • Identify your “Why” of the survey/research
  • The number of items or questions
  • Identify the number of times an item reoccur

Areas Maxdiff analysis can be used:

Maxdiff analysis can be applied in areas like,

  1. Studying buyer persona
  2. Obtaining customer feedback
  3. Selecting the name of the new product or service
  4. Identifying areas of interest in your audience
  5. Finding the perceptions of your audience

The analytics can differ based on the platform you choose for your survey.

Likert Scale Vs Maxdiff:

Maxdiff analysis surpasses the advantages of the Likert method.

In Likert, people are asked to rate between different degrees of options ranging from important, very important, not important, and many more, which eventually confuses the participants and leads to biased results.  For most Market research surveys, a ranking question may be inefficient to evaluate. So Maxdiff analysis is the best option if you are focusing on quality results. Because it prevents confusion and results in direct answers than the standard Likert scales.


A bonus tip to increase the standard of the survey while using Maxdiff analysis is to keep the questions simple. You can make the most of it by speaking the audience's language and researching well about them before starting with the survey.

Instead of usual, traditional methods that include rating, ranking, and other such types try using this method to gain the utmost benefits. Because this isn't just a survey if you're looking at it as a tool or guide for your business!

Look out for the alternatives before you invest your time or energy in a method to do your survey. 

Subscribe to get future posts from BlockSurvey