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Smiley Face Rating Scale: Everything You Need to Know


19 July 2022

5 min read

Are you looking to quickly measure how satisfied or happy your customers are with your product, feature, or service? A smiley face rating scale question can help you.

In this article, we discuss what a smiley face rating scale is, why use it to collect feedback, the different types of smiley face rating scales, use cases, when to use one, and the different ways you can share this kind of survey.

Here’s everything we’ll cover in this article, feel free to jump to a section that’s relevant to you:

What is a smiley face rating scale?

A smiley face rating scale is a type of rating scale that uses emoji faces to measure satisfaction levels. The scale typically ranges from sad (or angry) faces to smiling (or happy) faces.

A smiley face rating scale is easy to understand and quick to answer in that it quickly communicates different kinds of emotions to the respondent. Respondents can quickly answer how they feel by selecting the face they can relate to the most, resulting in accurate feedback.

Smiley face surveys are super popular. This is because smiley faces are emojis and emojis are universally accepted and serve as a universal visual language. Studies suggest that 92% of people online use emojis daily.

Using the smiley face rating scale in your surveys can help you gather quick responses and provide actionable insights that you otherwise can’t with a normal rating scale.

By making use of visual language like emojis, you relieve your readers from the pain of having to read your answer options every time they have to answer your survey question.

There’s really no better way to quickly gauge what’s frustrating or delighting your customers than a smiley face survey with a smiley face rating scale.

Why use smiley face surveys?

Here are some reasons why you should use smiley faces as answer options rather than numbers or any other written answer options:

A quick way to collect feedback

It’s much easier to simply pick a smiley face that reflects how they feel than it is to read long answer options that are in the text format.

Easy to understand

Coupled with a short question, these little images convey everything your respondents need to accurately answer your question without them having to think or read.


People love using emojis. They are everywhere on the internet. Over 5 billion emojis are sent per day on Facebook messenger. 

Universal reach

Since everyone understands what emojis communicate, they can now offer their opinions and feedback.

Higher response rate

Since smiley face surveys are the easiest to answer, more of them are willing to respond.

Improved customer satisfaction and loyalty

Smiley face rating scale gives you the ability to gather more accurate feedback, which puts you in a better position to make their experience even better. Also, it conveys to your customers that you do care about their experience and value their time.

Types of smiley face rating scales

There are three types of smiley face rating scales you need to know: 

5-point scale

This is the most popular smiley face rating scale. The scale includes 5 faces that convey the following meanings: excellent, good, average, bad, and terrible.

5 point smiley face rating scale

4-point scale

This scale doesn’t include the face that provides a visual cue for “bad”. It includes 4 faces that convey the following meanings: terrible, average, good, and excellent.

4 point smiley face rating scale

3 point scale

This scale uses three faces to indicate terrible, average, and excellent.

3 point smiley face rating scale

Where and when to use a smiley face rating scale?

In busy locations

Locations where people are on the move and are likely to not answer your survey if you’re going to make them read your answer options rather than using simple images such as emojis.

In email signatures

Embedding a smiley face survey question as an email signature makes it easier for your customers to give you feedback right within their inbox. 

In popups

While your customers can find popups annoying, including a smiley face question with colorful emojis and less content will make them share how they truly feel about something.

With young customers

Young people find visual content like emojis more attractive and engaging than normal text content. Make a survey question fun to answer for a younger audience with a smiley face rating scale.

When language is a barrier

Since emojis and smileys are multilingual in nature, anyone can understand what you mean and quickly give you an accurate answer.

Use cases of a smiley face rating scale

Here are some ways the smiley face rating scale can be used:

Measure website experience

Smiley face rating scale helps you quickly measure the experience your customers have on your website. It helps you understand how satisfied your customers are with your website’s design and usability.

Measure app experience

You can use a smiley face question to understand the experience they had with a new feature, whether they liked the onboarding experience, and so on. You can trigger these surveys within your app based on certain events with the help of a mobile SDK.

Measure customer satisfaction

Smiley surveys are effective in measuring your customer satisfaction because of their ease of use and simplicity. CSAT surveys typically include a smiley survey question to gauge the respondent’s satisfaction with the product, service, or brand.

Gather post-transaction feedback

Smiley face surveys are ideal for gathering feedback right after an event or transaction while the event or translation is still fresh in the customer’s memory. Smiley face surveys allow you to understand the kind of experience your customers had while performing these transactions. 

Collect on-premise feedback

Kiosks coupled with smiley surveys allow you to gather quick feedback from your customers on your own premise.

Multiple smiley survey methods

Using a survey tool like SurveySparrow, you can easily conduct your smiley surveys on multiple channels. Here are a few ways you can share your surveys and gather feedback:


Gather quick feedback from your email recipients by embedding the smiley survey in your emails.


Gather feedback directly from your website with the HTML embed feature. Simply copy and paste a snippet to embed the smiley survey on your website.


Each survey gets a branded survey page so your customers can visit this page via the link you share with them.

App (via mobile SDK)

Create and trigger smiley surveys within your app with our simple mobile SDK.

Final thoughts

Smiley face rating scale questions allow you to get quick, actionable feedback from your customers. When done right, smiley survey questions can help optimize and improve your customer experience. We hope this article will help you create effective smiley face surveys.

Are you looking to create and conduct a smiley survey by yourself? SurveySparrow provides you with everything you need to create and conduct an effective smiley face survey!

Our surveys typically tend to boost survey responses and create pleasant experiences. Most of your customers will complete your survey as they would be pleased to take your surveys.

SurveySparrow provides you with a simple drag-and-drop interface and free survey templates with smiley face survey questions.

If you’re looking to boost your survey responses and create pleasant experiences, take SurveySparrow for a spin today!

Have you got any questions on creating smiley surveys? Got any interesting tips or hacks for creating an effective smiley survey? Let us know in the comment section below.

If you’re wondering whether SurveySparrow is the right fit for you and would rather have someone walk you through our platform, reach out to us for a free, personalized demo!


I'm a developer turned marketer, working as a Product Marketer at SurveySparrow — A survey tool that lets anyone create beautiful, conversational surveys people love to answer.


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