Behringer & Zildjian: an owned media analysis

Abstract

The musical equipment industry can be a highly competitive industry, and as such, brands operating within this industry need to have a well-defined marketing strategy to achieve maximum results. One aspect of a marketing strategy is focusing on a brand’s owned media, which consists of all platforms that a brand ‘owns,’ such as their website or social media platforms. This paper will analyse both Behringer, an audio equipment manufacturer, and Zildjian, a drum cymbal and stick manufacturer, and their approach to owned media, using data from their social platforms, a social media analytical tool, and a website traffic analysis tool. It will compare the results and contrast between the companies and, finally, offer several suggestions for improvement will be given.

An owned media analysis

Recording and performing musicians require a lot of equipment, ranging from flutes to synthesizers, guitars, drum kits, and more. Two companies supplying those materials are both Behringer and Zildjian. Behringer is a relatively young company, focussing on affordable audio equipment and instruments (Behringer, n.d.), while Zildjian has a long and rich history and has mainly focussed on drum cymbals and accessories (Zildjian, n.d.). For each company to gain a competitive advantage in their industry it is important to market their brand effectively, and their owned media is the best place to display their brand as they want it. Owned media is any media that a brand owns, and, therefore, can directly influence themselves, such as their website and social platforms (Campaign Monitor, n.d.). This paper will analyse both companies’ owned media, and provide recommendations based on both analyses.

Behringer was founded in 1989 by Uli Behringer (Behringer, n.d.). As a young sound engineer, he could not afford the equipment he needed for his studio, so he decided to start building it for himself (Behringer, n.d.). Now, 22 years later, Behringer has grown from a small start-up to a giant music product company, including vertically integrated plants in China and Malaysia (Behringer, n.d.). Their goal has always been to provide musicians with amazing products, at an affordable price , hence the slogan, double the features, half the price (Behringer, n.d). 

Having started with a relatively young company, this essay will also analyze America’s oldest family-owned business’ owned media, Zildjian (Zildjian, n.d.). Officially founded in 1623, the Zildjian company produces drum cymbals, drumsticks, and percussion mallets (Zildjian, n.d.). The company has offices in the US, the UK, and Singapore (Zildjian, n.d.). 

Both Behringer and Zildjian have a presence on most social media platforms, for example on Facebook, where Zildjian has 1,2 million followers (Zildjian, n.d.), while Behringer has about half, 615,151 (Behringer, n.d.). What is interesting to note is the difference in the tone of voice between both companies, see Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1

Note: Behringer, 2021

Figure 2

Note: Zildjian, 2021

It seems Behringer has a more informing, and perhaps informal tone, almost as if Uli Behringer himself had written the post. It is very engaging with their followers since it gives them ‘a look behind the curtain.’ 

What Zildjian does well, is their use of hashtags and, more importantly, the artist’s page tags. The artist and band being discussed are tagged in the post, thus increasing the post’s reach (Andersen, n.d). Essentially, this is something that works really well for Zildjian, connecting and posting about artists can result in massive engagements, such as in Figure 2. However, the author, as part of an audience, feels that the post has a rather commercial tone of voice. 

To compare both companies’ efforts on Facebook, one can calculate their engagement rates. Both Figures 1 and 2 are the posts with the highest engagement in the past 4 weeks. 

For this calculation, one adds likes, comments, shares, clicks, and reach, and divides this by the total following of the page (Klipfolio, n.d.). Klipfolio states that any post with an above 1% engagement rate is good, between 0,5% and 1% is average, and anything less needs to be worked on (Klipfolio, n.d.). The click and reach data are unavailable to the author of this paper at the time of writing, so all engagement rates in this paper will be lower than in reality.

Following this calculation, Behringer has an engagement rate of 1,26%, and Zildjian a 2,9% rate, which means both posts did exceptionally well. 

Zildjian seeks alignment with artists across all their owned platforms, including Instagram. See Figure 3 for an overview of their page, including 10 posts with drummers, of the visible 12 posts. This is a great way for Zildjian to connect to their target audience. Additionally, Zildjian also utilizes reels (see Figure 4), which have shown to be a primary (or most effective) way to reach new audiences since Instagram is changing its focus from a photo- to a rather video-based platform (Clark, 2021).

Behringer uses their Instagram more as a virtual store window to display their various products, see Figure 5. At first glance, it seems a lot of their posts have quite high engagement, so one can assume that this works for Behringer as a marketing tactic.

Figure 3Figure 4
Note: Zildjian Company, n.d.Note: Zildjian Company, n.d.

Figure 5: An overview of Behringer’s Instagram page

Note: Behringer, 2021

To properly gauge the effectiveness of either brand on Instagram, one can analyse their engagement rate. A good engagement rate on Instagram is tallied at over 3,5%, with anything above 6% exceptionally high (Mee, 2021). Less than 1% is considered a low engagement rate, and between 1% and 3,5% is considered average (Mee, 2021). The rate is calculated by dividing the total number of likes and comments in 30 days by the number of posts, which  will result in  the average engagement for each post (Mee, 2021). That number is then divided by the total number of followers (Mee, 2021). 

Behringer has 147,000 followers (Behringer, n.d.), with a total of 33624 likes and comments in the last 30 days (Behringer, n.d), spread over 25 posts, which would result in an engagement rate of 0,9%, which is quite in line with their Facebook engagement rate. It seems Behringer’s target audience on Instagram enjoys engaging with the product offering the company has, see Figure 6. 

Figure 6: A selection of comments on a Behringer Instagram post

Note: Behringer, 2021

Looking at Zildjian’s Instagram page, their follower count is quite close to their Facebook page. They have 937000 followers (Zildjian Company, n.d.). When looking at the engagement rate for Zildjian, one finds that they have amassed 273360 likes and comments in the past 30 days (Zildjian Company, n.d.), spread over 47 posts, which would give them an engagement rating of 0,6%. For this calculation, the separate Instagram TV and reels, not in the profile grid, have not been taken into account, which would almost certainly guarantee a higher engagement rate.

It seems perhaps Zildjian needs to find a more effective strategy to increase engagement, and this can be something as small as asking their followers  questions more often, which has been proven to increase engagement (Genler, 2016). Behringer seems to be leaving a lot of potential untapped by not creating any Instagram reels, despite having the content for, as Behringer has a very active Youtube channel.

Currently, Behringer has 173,000 subscribers on Youtube (Behringer, n.d.), and is a regular uploader, see Figure 7. This keeps their audience engaged and gives potential followers a reason to subscribe to them on Youtube since they know the content will be uploaded regularly. What is commendable about Behringer’s Youtube page is that they again provide the content that their target audience would enjoy watching. Videos about their products, behind the scenes building these machines, and tutorials.

Figure 7: Overview of Behringer’s most recent Youtube uploads

Note: Behringer, n.d.

Zildjian also has a Youtube channel, where they have garnered 309000 subscribers (Avedis Zildjian Company, n.d.). Again, Zildjian focuses on live drummers here, with only 1 tutorial and 1 product video visible in Figure 8. They upload on a regular basis, with at least 15 videos uploaded in the past two months. This seems to be exactly what their audience wants, see Figure 9 for their 15 most popular videos. These videos have garnered over 27,2 million combined views. 

Figure 8: An overview of Zidljian’s most recent videos

Note: Avedis Zildjian Company, n.d.

Figure 9: An overview of Zildjian’s most popular videos

Note: Avedis Zildjian Company, n.d.

Another platform Behringer is active on is Twitter. The company has amassed 68.4K followers there (Behringer, n.d.), which seems to be the least of any platforms discussed here. Most of the content they post elsewhere they also post to Twitter, although they seem to share some more online videos than on other platforms, see Figure 10.

Figure 10

Note: Behringer, n.d.

To calculate the engagement rate for Twitter, one can add all the likes, comments, and retweets of the last 20 posts together, divide that by 20 to get an average per post and then divide that by the total follower amount (Mee, 2021). This results in 32 average engagements per post, which means Behringer has a 0,05% engagement rate on Twitter, which is considered a good rate by social media marketeers (Mee, 2021).

Zildjian finds themselves in a similar situation, having the least followers of all their owned media platforms on Twitter as well, with only 127,200 followers (Zildjian Company, n.d.). See Figure 11 for an example of their feed;

Figure 11

Note: Zildjian Company, n.d.

To calculate their engagement rate the last 20 posts lead to an average engagement of 29 engagements per post, which would mean a 0,016% engagement rate for Twitter, which is considered low by social media marketeers (Mee, 2021). Zildjian’s copies are of high quality, with shortlinks, appropriate hashtags, and pictures & video, but perhaps the content needs to be tailored  more for Twitter, which is a mainly short-text-based platform (Green, 2020). 

Using the online social media analytics tool Keyhole, one can analyze the online social media presence of both brands. Keyhole measures how many people are talking about a brand on social media at any given time (Keyhole, n.d.) See Figures 12 and 13 for both Behringer’s and Zildjian’s results, respectively.

Figure 12: Behringer Keyhole results

Figure 13: Zildjian Keyhole results

Note for Figures 12 and 13: Keyhole, 2021

Please note that both analytics were sourced from a trial Keyhole account, and only spanned the timeframe of July 15th – 17th. 

One can conclude, based on both graphs, that Behringer is currently being mentioned more often on social media, but only by a fraction (Keyhole, 2021). The amount of posts is very close to each other, and Zildjian’s graph looks somewhat distorted due to an outlier in a specific time frame when a lot of people posted at the same time.

Owned media covers more than just social media, as it also includes websites. Both Behringer and Zildjian have their own website, see Figures 13 and 14 for both their homepages.

Figure 13: Behringer homepage

Note: Behringer, n.d.

Figure 14: Zildjian homepage

Note: Zildjan, n.d.

The Behringer website has a very clean, minimalistic look, which matches all their other content, including white backgrounds while focussing on the products, which seems to be their priority. Besides products, the community tab is the first next tab, which links to their community website, called Music Tribe. This is a place where Behringer consumers can come together, answer each other’s questions and discuss products and recommendations, see Figure 16. This shows what is important to Behringer as a company, their products, and their community.

Figure 16: Sample question on Music Tribe

Note: JohnnyChandler, 2021

Contrasted to that is Zildjian’s homepage, which is very stylised, and focuses on the brand and its history more than the products. The website has a simple division between products, artists, education, and brands, highlighting what is important for Zildjian as a company. Especially artists seem to take a prominent position in Zildjian’s marketing campaigns.

Using SimilarWeb, one can also analyse the traffic coming into each website, see Figures 17 and 18.

Figure 17: Behringer

Note: Similarweb, 2021

Figure 18: Zildjian

Note: Similarweb, 2021

 When comparing both websites, it seems Behringer has a lot more traffic, but the traffic coming to Zildjian’s website is staying longer and visiting more parts of the website. Zildjian also has a slightly lower bounce rate, which is the percentage of people opening your website and then directly closing it (Google, n.d). Rates between 40%-55% are considered normal (Cameron-Kitchen, 2016), so it seems both companies are doing well in that regard.

The way people find both websites differs slightly as well. When looking at Figures 19 and 20, one can see that Zildjian has about 16% more direct traffic (meaning visits with no referring websites (Kemmis, 2019)), which could also explain the difference in visit duration and pages per visit between both websites. More people are coming to the Zildjian website directly with a specific goal in mind, while Behringer ranks highly for specific search words, which does not mean they can always offer what someone is looking for.

Figure 19

Figure 20

Note Figure 19 and 20: Similarweb, 2021

The last statistic to evaluate between both sites is how the social traffic is built up. See Figures 21 and 22.

Figure 21: Behringer social traffic build up

Figure 22: Zildjian social traffic build up

Note Figure 21 and 22: Similarweb, 2021

Behringer has a lot of traffic coming from Youtube, much more so than Zildjian. Contrasting that, however, is the fact that  Zildjian derives almost 10% of all their social traffic from Twitter, almost 3 times the amount of Behringer, despite Zildjian having a low engagement rate on the platform. 

After having analyzed all their owned media, one can conclude that Behringer has a solid owned media strategy, which is generating quite a lot of traffic back to their website, and could thus lead to potential purchases. However, the author believes that improving their Facebook and Instagram engagement would have great benefits for the brand. For example, strengthening the copies for Facebook or developing more tailored and engaging content for Instagram,  as mentioned, they could start utilizing Instagram reels. Another tactic to employ could be making use of paid keywords to boost their search traffic. Besides that, based on the research, the author would advise Behringer to focus on Youtube since this channel seems to generate the most traffic of all social platforms.

It seems that Zildjian has a solid foundation, with a lot of combined followers. However, the engagement is still average or below, especially compared to Behringer. This can perhaps be attributed to the personal and informal approach Behringer has, while Zildjian could come across as more corporate-like which could be treated by further analysing their target audience. The author would also suggest posting more artist-related content, and giving more specifics on their products through social media. 

The author would also recommend both companies to tailor their content for each platform and to start looking into TikTok. This platform currently has 1 billion monthly active users (Wallaroo, 2021), with a lot of potential Behringer and Zildjian fans amongst those users, given the fact this platform is very music-oriented (Leight, 2019). 

The saying ‘Content is King’ does not seem to be valid anymore. While both Behringer and Zildjian have a lot of high-quality content, there is still a lot of room for improvement for both companies that goes beyond simply posting regular content. Through this analysis one can conclude that both companies are supplying what their audience wants, content-wise, but further steps are required, especially for Zildjian since Behringer seems to be exploring the options. To truly engage with their customers, fans, and potential audiences, both companies will have to engage in conversations and simply offer more than an image with a formal copy.

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