How Smiley Face Surveys Boost Response Rates

Philip Cleave
August 11, 2022
A smiley face emoji survey answer option

When you consider that a growing number of online surveys are already completed on mobile, and emojis and smileys are sent in their billions every day, it can make sense to consider including more emojis in your own surveys when appropriate.

Obviously, it depends on your type of survey, your needs and how detailed it is. However, if you’re just looking to conduct a short, sharp survey to quickly get a measure of satisfaction among your audience group, smiley face emojis can be a really effective way of reaching out to your audience and boosting your response rate.

What is the smiley face rating scale?

Essentially, the smiley face rating scale is a question type that uses emoji facial expressions to measure satisfaction levels.

Compared with written answer options, using a smiley face rating scale in a survey is much quicker and easier to understand as no reading is required.

Respondents simply select the face they can relate to the most, which best reflects how they feel about something. This allows you to quickly gather actionable insight.

Benefits of using smiley face surveys

There are many reasons why you might want to use smiley face emojis as answer options, rather than those with a traditional written format. These include:

A fast effective way to collect feedback

It’s much simpler to review a smiley face to check how each respondent feels, rather than having to trawl through and read a longer list of options that are in the text format.

Easy for respondents to understand

Compared to text, emojis are really simple for respondents to view and answer without having to read or think too much.

Universally recognized

Since nearly everyone around the world understands what emojis communicate, they can easily offer their opinions and feedback, irrespective of what language they speak.

Increased response rate

Given their ease of use, smiley face surveys tend to generate the best response rates.

You’re well placed to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty

With the ability to quickly gather and interpret your customer feedback, emojis put you in a better position to improve their experience. Using this type of rating style question also demonstrates to your customers, that while you care about their experience you also value their time.

Smiley face rating scales you can use

When it comes to using smiley face rating scales, there’s three main types you need to know about:

Five-point scale

The most popular emoji rating scale, the five-point scale includes 5 faces for respondents to select from and convey the following sentiment – Very satisfied, Satisfied, Neutral, Dissatisfied, Very dissatisfied.

How satisfied were you with our service today?

Four-point scale

This emoji rating scale tends to drop the neutral select option. Instead, respondents are asked to select from Very satisfied, Satisfied, Dissatisfied, Very dissatisfied

How satisfied were you with our service today?

Three-point scale

With the three-point emoji rating scale, respondents are only presented with Satisfied, Neutral, Dissatisfied options.

How satisfied were you with our service today?

Where and when to use a smiley face survey

There are many scenarios where it can be really advantageous to use smiley face rating scales in your surveys. Common examples include:

Busy, high footfall locations

Any high footfall locations where people are constantly on the move and unlikely to answer your survey if you’re going to make them read your answer options rather than select from simple to view images like emojis.


If you want to get quick feedback from your customers, a smiley face survey question embedded into your email signature makes it simple for them to give you feedback right from their inbox.


While some customers can find popups annoying, including a colorful smiley face question rather than a purely text-based one is more likely to get users to share their feedback with you.

With younger customers

Given that younger people generally find visual content like emojis more attractive and engaging than traditionally text content, targeting your survey question to them in this way, is more likely to generate a response from them.

Where language barriers can be an issue

Using emojis and smileys is ideal when language barriers might otherwise be a challenge for you. As they’re multilingual and easy to understand, using emojis will help ensure you get a response to your survey question.

Use case examples for smiley face surveys

Similarly, there are some great use case examples that are ideally suited to smiley face rating scales. Here’s a selection to consider:

To help measure customer satisfaction

Their simplicity and ease of use makes smiley surveys really effective for measuring your customer satisfaction. In fact, CSAT surveys typically include a smiley survey question to gage a respondent’s satisfaction with a product, service, or brand.

Assess your website experience

Using a smiley face rating scale in a web survey helps you quickly measure what experience visitors are having on your website. In particular you can see how satisfied customers are with your website usability and design.

Measure app experience

From their initial sign up and onboarding to the addition of new features. Smiley faces are great for helping you to understand the experience your app users are having.

Gathering post-transaction feedback

Given the wide range of transactions that a customer can have with a business, a smiley face survey is a great way of getting that customer’s feedback right after that transaction, while it’s still fresh in their minds. Smiley face surveys can enable you to understand the kind of experience your customers had while performing these transactions.

Collect on-premise feedback

When coupled with a Kiosk application, smiley surveys offer a quick and convenient way of gathering feedback from your customers on your own premises.

Get a better measure of what your customers are thinking

Using a smiley face rating scale question as part of your customer survey process can help boost your engagement and customer response rate.  But it’s only one aspect of getting to know and understand what your customers really want and expect.

Get started and create your first survey

If you would like more information then please get in touch.