The Perfect Number of Features and Levels For Conjoint Analysis

Before one can begin putting together a conjoint analysis project, the very first thing the survey administrator must lay down the foundation and know is which features and attributes to include.

Features (Attributes): The components that make the product profile.

Levels: The different options available under each feature.

At times, survey administrators will receive a very large list of features and attributes that may come from the engineering team. It’s so large that the administrator is unsure which features attributes to start with. When consulting internally, they hear “all of them are important,” and administrators are stuck with designing a highly complex conjoint survey that ends up collecting poor data. Why? The design did not take into account the potential for respondent fatigue from information overload. The project was doomed when it lost sight of what should have been top of mind - what customers really value about a product and service.

What is the perfect number of features and attributes to use for conjoint analysis? The perfect number truly depends on the target audience. The following questions should be asked of all internal teams when working on a conjoint study:

- What features and services are MOST important to them?
- What do they value and are willing to pay more for?
- How price sensitive are they?
- What are their spending habits?

To find out these things about your target audience, it is recommended to do pre-conjoint research. Quick surveys, polls, online forums, sentiment analysis on open-ended responses, and other techniques will highlight the key features and attributes that raise and lower value in the eyes of the target audience. Learn more about valuation research techniques here. These keys are what builds the foundation for a successful conjoint analysis project.

For example, if a shopper were in the market for a smart refrigerator, the features and attributes list would be quite large. Smart fridge shoppers will be reviewing include:

Food Management Systems
A function to create shopping lists and see inside from anywhere with 3 built-in cameras, also set expiration notifications to make sure everything is fresh
Family Connection
Share multiple calendars, photos, notes, and memos
Stream music, videos, watch y TV directly on the Fridge
Smart Voice Activation
Integrated voice-activated features
Flexible Drawer System
Designed for maximum flexibility and convenience
Auto water fill with infuser
Easily create delicious, refreshing flavored water right from your refrigerator
Counter Depth
Sleek, built-in design
Twin Cooling
Maintains both high levels of refrigerator humidity to keep perishable fruits and vegetables fresher longer and dry freezer conditions, which means fewer freezer burns for better-tasting frozen foods
Polygon Handles & Generous storage
Includes a divider and a take-out box to create plenty of space to organize frozen food
Organize contents with ease
Includes a metal shelf, a slide-in shelf, a foldable shelf, 2 crispers, 5 tempered glass shelves, 2 fixed shelves and 3-gallon storage door bins to provide ample space for storing items
LED interior lighting
Bright lights to illuminate the interior
Door alarm
Alerts you when the refrigerator door is accidentally left open to save energy.
Free delivery on appliance orders $400 and up
Free delivery and haul-away.

When designing a discrete choice conjoint,  the focus should lean towards the smart refrigerator features and some interesting features not normally found in a standard refrigerator.

- Food Management
- Family Connection
- Entertainment
- Voice Activation
- Auto water fill with infuser

These noted smart features can be validated through simple pre-conjoint analysis research and shared within the organization to ensure everyone is on the same page, and survey administrators can move on with the conjoint project with confidence.

For discrete choice conjoint studies, we generally recommend the best practice no more than 5-7 features or 5-7 attributes per conjoint question.

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