Guidance on American Spaces Reporting
Statistics and highlights are critical tools in reporting on the value of American Spaces to the State Department and to the U.S. Congress, which funds the program. All American Spaces are asked to keep track of the Basic Metrics, meaning statistics on the number of programs, the number of participants at programs, and the number of visits; and to report these numbers to the embassy or consulate each month. In addition, highlights and photos from successful programs can be emailed to the embassy or consulate, with an email copy to the Regional Public Engagement Specialist (portfolios given here) and firstname.lastname@example.org. The Office of American Spaces (ECA/A/M) includes success stories in weekly activity reports to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Academic Division leadership, and also features them in the American Spaces Newsletter.
Embassies and consulates that manage one or more American Space are requested to submit annual American Spaces Facilities and Program Report cables to confirm the status of Post’s Spaces and to report on the contributions made by Spaces to Mission priorities and objectives. These cables are intended to raise the visibility of their American Spaces and to complement data reported through current channels. Cables are requested by March 31 of each year and should cover the previous fiscal year. The cable template is available here.
We divide our programs into three different categories:
- In-Person Programs
- Virtual Programs
- Hybrid Programs
- Held on-site at an American Space or organized by an American Space at an off-site location.
- Does not have a virtual interactive component (meaning a component that has interaction with online participants, although program speakers, themselves, can be virtual).
How to count an In-Person participant:
- In-person program participants are the number of people that attend the program at the American Space or at the off-site location by personally entering the program location.
Examples of In-Person Programs:
- The American Corner screens the documentary Women in Space and holds a discussion group with 58 participants.
|Number of In-Person Participants||Number of In-Person Programs|
- A Washington-based office of ECA offers a program that is live-streamed over Facebook, with opportunities for questions from the field. The American Center hosts a viewing party with 50 participants in the Space. For the American Center, this is counted as an in-person program, not a hybrid nor a virtual program, and the Space would report 50 in-person participants and one in-person program. This is because the American Center did not set up or share the livestream.
Number of In-Person Participants Number of In-Person Programs 50 1
- Must be hosted by the American Space via an online platform.
- Does not have an in-person audience.
- Must include engagement online during the live program moderated by the American Space, usually through social media (such as FB Live), web chat platforms such as WhatsApp and WeChat, or video conferencing platforms such as Zoom.
○Videos posted to social media (with no interactive component from the American Space during the live program) do not count as virtual programs, but instead as social media engagement.
How to count a Virtual Participant:
- Must attend a virtual event online.
- For video conferencing, use the number of participants during the session.
- For live stream videos, use the number of views at the conclusion of the event.
○You can also go back to the live stream video at the end of the reporting month to capture the total number of views.
- For live text-based chats:
○If you are using a text-based app for programmatic efforts, please reach out to the Office of American Spaces, and we will work with you to provide detailed guidance on measurement.
Examples of Virtual Programs:
- The American Center runs a leadership class for 150 virtual students via Google Classroom
|Number of Virtual Attendees||Number of Virtual Programs|
- The American Corner hosts a Facebook Live session on women’s empowerment with 200 online participants. At the end of the month, the Corner rechecks the views and finds that a total of 250 people viewed the program, which includes the original 200 live participants.
|Number of Virtual Attendees||Number of Virtual Programs|
- Must be hosted by the American Space.
- Has an in-person audience at the American Space or at an off-site location.
- Must also include a virtual element, meaning that an online audience outside the in-person audience engages with the live program, usually through social media, messaging apps, or video conferencing platforms.
How to count a Hybrid Participant:
- For now, Hybrid Programs and Hybrid Participants have their own columns in the data sheet. Please use only the Hybrid Programs and Hybrid Participants columns when reporting on this program. Do not count in-person participants at Hybrid Programs as In-Person Participants, and do not count virtual participants at Hybrid Programs as Virtual Participants.
- Use the same methods described above to count the in-person participants. Separately, use the same methods described above to count the virtual participants. Then add these two numbers together, to calculate the total number of participants in the Hybrid program.
- A note about terms: “Blended program” and “hybrid program” often sound like the same thing, and ECA/A/M has previously used them interchangeably. Having considered how these words are often differentiated in an education environment, we have decided to rename these metrics as “Hybrid programs” and “Hybrid participants,” though the guidance on how to count them remains the same as before. In education environments, a “blended” class involves the same student engaging with the curriculum in both virtual and in-person environments, usually at different times. A “hybrid” class involves some students engaging with the curriculum in an in-person environment, while other students engage with the same curriculum in a virtual environment, usually at the same time. We have chosen the term “Hybrid program” because it more closely matches what American Spaces often do.
Examples of Hybrid programs:
- The American Center streams a panel discussion on-site in front of a live audience of 45 participants. The stream receives 350 live views.
|Number of Hybrid Participants||Number of Hybrid Programs|
|45 + 350 = 395||1|
- The American Corner hosts a speaker event at a nearby auditorium with 100 in-person program participants. It is also broadcast via Facebook Live with 450 views.
|Number of Hybrid Participants||Number of Hybrid Programs|
|100 + 450 = 550||1|
Prior guidance on how to count and report visit numbers has led to inconsistent data reporting, undermining the accuracy of our Basic Metrics. This updated guidance changes how the visits metric should be reported, so that the data will be more accurate. Specifically starting with the October 2022 reporting period, Spaces and posts should no longer include program participants in their reported visits numbers. This change does not require anyone to change how they count participants or visits. It only requires that Spaces and posts separate these two numbers when reporting their Basic Metrics.
In the past, some Spaces counted everyone who entered (including in-person participants) and reported that number as the visits number. This was correct, according to former guidance, but will no longer be correct as of October 1, 2022. Such Spaces also separately counted in-person program participants in order to report the in-person participants Basic Metric, which remains a correct approach. After October 1, 2022, these Spaces should continue to count visits and in-person participants the same way they were counting before but should subtract in-person participants from the overall visits in order to report the visits Basic Metric.
In the past, some Spaces counted everyone who entered (including in-person participants) and reported that number as the visits number. This was correct, according to former guidance, but will no longer be correct as of October 1, 2022. Such Spaces also separately counted in-person program participants in order to report the in-person participants Basic Metric, which remains a correct approach. After October 1, 2022, these Spaces should continue to count visits and in-person participants the same way they were counting before, but should subtract in-person participants from the overall visits, in order to report the visits Basic Metric.
Other Spaces counted visits by people who did not participate in a program separately from how they counted in-person participants, which also remains a correct approach. These Spaces then used to add the two numbers together (non-program-participant visits plus in-person participants) in order to report the visits Basic Metric. After October 1, 2022, these Spaces will no longer need to carry out that extra step of addition.
How to Count Visits
There are a number of ways to get reasonably good data about visits to your Space. The choice of method should be decided through consultation between posts and Spaces, taking into account local conditions of physical layout, privacy laws, security expectations, and available funding. REPS can provide significant operational expertise to assist with these decisions. Options for counting visits include:
- Foot counters: Foot counters can be expensive, and some models are more reliable than others. For Spaces with heavy foot traffic, this may be a helpful option.
- Head counts: Count the number of people using the Space at set times during the day. The Space may calculate a daily total based on a limited snapshot, as long as the method of calculation has been reviewed by post and the REPS and they consider it reasonable. Best practice shows that if head counts are used to report the visits metric, then they should be conducted at least once per day.
- Log books or spreadsheets: As long as your Space has no privacy or security concerns, then you can ask visitors to sign in as they enter your Space, counting the number of sign ins at the end of the day. Log books are usually on paper; spreadsheets might be used on paper or online. For a sample spreadsheet, please inquire by emailing AmericanSpaces@state.gov.
- Online check-in system: As long as your Space has no privacy or security concerns, then you can ask visitors to check in with a computer- or tablet-based sign-in system as they enter the Space.
- Paper ticket dispenser: A paper ticket dispenser can be used to track visits by noting the starting ticket number at the start of your operating hours and the ending ticket number when you closed. This option may help Spaces that often see individual visitors entering and leaving multiple times a day, for example due to the physical layout of the Space. A sign can be posted asking each visitor to take only one ticket, the first time they enter each day.
Examples of Reporting Visits
- The American Center uses a foot counter which counted a total of 293 visits last month, which included the in-person participants. The American Center knows by some other means that 110 people participated in in-person programs that month.
Number of In-Person Program Participants Number of Visits COUNTED Number of Visits REPORTED 110 293 293 – 110 = 183
- The American Corner takes daily head counts at 2 PM, their peak visiting hour and a time when the Corner usually does not conduct programs. From experience, the Corner knows that a small number of people usually visit at other times of the day. By agreement with post and the REPS, the Corner adds up the number of daily head counts for the month, then increases that by 5% to account for people who visit at some other time of day. Last month, the Corner’s head counts totaled 200 visits. The Corner also offers programs, usually at some other time of the day, and does not count these participants when they do their head counts. Last month, the Corner held five (5) in-person programs with a total of 100 in-person participants.
Number of In-Person Program Participants Number of Visits COUNTED Number of Visits REPORTED 100 200 200 + 200*0.05 = 210
- The American Corner uses a deli-counter style paper ticket dispenser and asks each visitor to take one ticket, only once, on any given day. The Corner notes the ticket number at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day, and calculates the difference to know how many visits they had. This Corner asks in-person participants to take a ticket too, because it would be difficult to give different instructions to different people. Last month they conducted 14 in-person programs with a total of 280 in-person participants (counted through some other means, such as a registration check-in form), and three (3) virtual programs with a total of 500 virtual participants. At the end of the month, the Corner adds up all the daily visits numbers based on the ticket dispensers, and found 340 visits, total.
Number of In-Person Program Participants Number of Visits COUNTED Number of Visits REPORTED 280 340 340 – 280 = 60
Social Media Engagement
At this time, the Office of American Spaces is not requiring Spaces to report engagement statistics for static social media posts and non-live events. Please keep in mind that social media posts may involve interaction with social media audiences (followers, reactions, etc.), but they are different from virtual programs in that there is no initial live event featuring Space-moderated interaction with a virtual audience.