Adaptive Choice-Based Conjoint (ACBC) is an advanced system for conjoint analysis. It is used for studying how people make decisions regarding complex products or services. ACBC is a new approach to preference modeling that leverages the best aspects of CBC (Choice-Based Conjoint) and ACA (Adaptive Conjoint Analysis). An Adaptive Choice interview is an interactive experience, customized to the preferences and opinions of each individual.

Adaptive choice-based conjoint (ACBC) analysis uses choice data and incorporates it into an adaptive interviewing experience. ACBC analysis has been suggested to provide more accurate information at the individual level, which can lead to better predictions even when using smaller sample sizes.

The Adaptive CBC Interview Flow:

Motivation for ACBC

In recent years marketing researchers have become aware of potential problems with CBC questionnaires and the way respondents answer CBC questions.

  • The concepts presented to respondents are often not very close to the respondent's ideal. This can create the perception that the interview is not very focused or relevant to the respondent.
  • To estimate partworths at the individual level, it is necessary for each individual to answer several choice tasks. But when a dozen or more similar choice tasks are presented to the respondent, the experience is often seen to be repetitive and boring, and it seems possible that respondents are less engaged in the process than the researcher might wish.
  • If the respondent is keenly intent on a particular level of a critical attribute (a "must have" feature), there is often only one such product available per choice task. Such a respondent is left with selecting this product or "None" and respondents tend to avoid the "None" constant, perhaps due to "helping behavior." Thus, for respondents intent on just a few key levels, standard minimal overlap choice tasks don't encourage them to reveal their preferences much more deeply than the few "must have" features.
  • Capture more information from respondent (than standard CBC), encouraging deeper rather than superficial information processing, and requiring smaller sample sizes.
  • Provide more engaging interviews than standard CBC (hopefully leading to better data).
  • Greater ability than standard CBC to study many attributes and levels.
  • More accurate predictions than standard CBC, better segmentations.

When to Use ACBC?

  • Five or more attributes
  • Either large or very small sample sizes
  • When conjoint sections of about 7 to 15 minutes fit within the questionnaire

Benefits of ACBC

  • More engaging, relevant interviews
  • Directly incorporates non-compensatory decision-making
  • Ability to obtain strong individual-level estimates
  • Can work even with the smallest of sample sizes
  • Solid behavioral theory (consideration, then choice)
  • Solid statistical theory (near-orthogonal experiments and choice data)

The Phases of ACBC

BYO (Build Your Own) Phase
Each respondent builds his or her preferred product on the basis of the pre-defined attributes and attribute levels.

Screening Phase
The product built in the preceding section serves as the basis for the definition of further products, which differ at individual levels. The respondent indicates, for each of these products, whether it comes into consideration or not.

On the basis of these responses it is determined whether particular attributes are essential to the respondent, or are unacceptable. For these "must haves" or "unacceptables", the respondent is again asked explicitly whether the attribute really must be present or may on no account be present.

Choice Task Questions
The products found acceptable in the screening phase are then presented in groups, out of which the respondent selects the most preferred product in each group (classic CBC choice tasks without the "none" option). This selection process is repeated until the best product (winning concept) is determined.

Calibration Section
The fourth section of the interview is optional and may be used to estimate a different "None" parameter from that provided by the Screening Section.

The respondent is re-shown the concept identified in the BYO section, the concept winning the Choice Tasks tournament, and (typically) four others chosen from among both previously accepted and rejected concepts. For each of those concepts we ask how likely he/she would be to buy it if it were available in the market, using a standard five-point Likert scale

Build your Own Exercise

Screener Section

Choice Task Exercise

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

Comparison with CBC

Compared to Choice Based Conjoint, our work suggest that ACBC:

  • Generates more accurate individual-level predictions and market simulators, especially if respondents employ non-compensatory processes.
  • Requires somewhat smaller sample sizes to estimate population parameters or shares of preference.
  • May even be used with n=1 for understanding a single customer, whereas standard CBC generally wouldn�t be considered.
  • Provides additional information for clients regarding what levels respondents screen on (must-haves and unacceptables).
  • Probably better for market segmentation (latent class or cluster analysis).
  • Can deal with greater number of attributes and levels more effectively.


The simulator is a stand-alone package that allows clients to conduct alternative "what-if" scenarios. Developed in Excel / web based, a simulator is a powerful analysis tool and the most important deliverable resulting from a conjoint analysis project.

The market simulator is an effective tool for analyzing consumer preference for different product configurations among a competitive set. By fine-tuning individual product attributes and product price points, clients are able understand whether product preferences will increase or decrease.

Simulators transform the utility data from your conjoint study into a tangible tool that you and your end-clients can use. By specifying each level on each attribute of each real or hypothetical product, user defined scenario is created. The computed product utilities are used to estimate strengths of preference in terms of acceptance.

This is done by accumulating the individual estimates over respondents to predict aggregated interests in different product concepts. Because it is in Excel / online, you can easily share it with colleagues and end-clients to maximize use.

Case Studies


Contact Us

At Knowledge Excel, we have been conducting Adaptive Conjoint studies for over a decade and know how to use ACBC to help you obtain the market advantage. Let's connect to discuss your requirements.

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