A digital asset management (DAM) software is a program that organizes, stores and shares digital files in a specified location. This focuses on digital assets, which are documents, photos, video, audio, and other media that contain copyrights.
So why do businesses need a DAM software?
For one, half of all marketing teams have scattered digital assets. With major businesses having more than 7,000 unorganized files, more than 10,000 assets could be potentially lost in systems.
With a DAM software, digital assets are easily organized – which makes them easily searchable – and more secure. More than just improving file storage, DAMs make sure that your company upholds the strictest of standards.
With that being said, it’s essential to invest in a good DAM software. As such, it’s best if you read on below to learn more about choosing the right product – as well as the best DAM products in the market.
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Selecting the Best Digital Asset Management Software
It can be overwhelming to choose from the many DAM systems in the market. However, you need not worry. As long as you keep these features in mind, you can choose the best DAM software for your business.
1. Types of DAM Program
There are two types of DAM software, each with its own set of pros and cons.
a. Cloud-Based DAM
Also known as DAM SaaS (software as a service), it is hosted by a cloud vendor. It usually involves a subscription service that delivers the files through an internet browser.
What’s great about this type of DAM is that it is quick to execute. It’s also scalable, so you can easily adjust it according to business needs. Because it’s cloud-based, upgrades and new features can be installed with relative ease. The tech support comes from the DAM service provider itself, so you don’t have to burden your IT personnel with additional tasks.
A downside to having cloud-based DAM, as with any other cloud-hosted solutions, is the risk for hacking. While providers can assure you of file security, you are always at risk of having precious assets hacked or corrupted.
b. Local DAM Software
Also known as on-premise software, it is something that you directly install into your business computer system. Because it is opposite to the functions of a cloud-based DAM, you would need to have a dedicated IT personnel run and maintain this program. Most importantly, you need enough storage – and good servers – for an on-premise DAM.
Since this doesn’t run on the cloud, a local DAM software allows you to access files without the need for a good internet connection.
2. Program integration
The wrong kind of DAM software can render your other programs and tools useless. Unless you are okay with wasting money, then you need to choose a program that works well with your existing software. Fortunately, some DAMs can integrate Hootsuite, Adobe Creative Suite, and other tools that your employees might already be using.
While a DAM software eases file management and access, it goes without saying that some files need to be restricted to some personnel. With that being said, you need to choose a DAM program that can help you limit file access only to necessary individuals.
Fortunately, many DAM programs are equipped with access modification. All you need to do is to group users so that the assets are only seen by the rightful personnel. With this control, you can keep sensitive company data under wraps.
When you introduce a new program such as DAM to your company, you should consider its user-friendliness. Even if its high-tech, a hard-to-use interface will mean a huge waste of employee time and productivity.
5. Client support
If your DAM has quite a bit of a learning curve, then you need to choose one with excellent client support. You need a company that offers good tutorial services and phone and online assistance whenever possible. This is especially the case if your IT personnel are not available to assist your employees for the time being.
6. IT Capacity
How many IT personnel do you have? Do you have enough storage servers? These are just some questions you need to answer when choosing a DAM program. You may be tempted to buy the cheapest program out there, but it’s sure to fail if you don’t keep your company’s IT capacity in mind.
Safe to say, if you have a good IT program, then you could go for a local DAM software. If not, then you should opt for cloud-based DAM.
7. Your stakeholders
Before you buy a DAM system, you need to check with the people who would be affected by this change. To get them on your side, you need to ask them about the functionalities that they need to make their tasks easier. You need to be in constant communication with these stakeholders so they can adapt well to the changes.
DAM programs will cost you some money. Although it would be easy to go for the cheapest one, it’s not always the best decision. As mentioned, you need to consider the program type, program integration, file access, IT capacity, and your stakeholders. With these in mind, you can work on your company’s budget issue for a DAM.
A DAM software indeed comes with many benefits. While there’s a lot of products for you to choose from, it goes without saying that these are some of the best in the market:
Adobe Experience Manager, fondly known as AEM, is a content and DAM solution for businesses worldwide. Here, you can get a customized and content-centric experience unlike any other.
This DAM offers cloud connectivity, which can help facilitate creative assets upstream – and marketing files downstream. As such, it could provide seamless collaboration from various corners of the organization.
More importantly, AEM comes with automated workflows and governance rules. With the help of one master file, you can create, modify, and share assets with relative ease.
AEM also comes with content intelligence, many thanks to its sophisticated algorithms and machine learning features. Through Adobe Sensei, you could hasten slow processes, work on insights and analytics, and even uncover concealed assets.
One of the best things about AEM is that it is an extensible cloud-native. You don’t have to be torn between customization and cloud scalability as AEM has it all.
AEM pricing depends on enterprise size and scalability. Prices are given upon request, though some reports say that it could cost you about $250,000 to $1 million annually.
- Its multi-channel feature allows users to share assets through the web, mobile, applications, and screens, to name a few.
- Offers good marketing tools that enable users to make attention-grabbing content and assets.
- The interface is very user-friendly. You can use your AEM with minimal assistance from IT personnel.
- Integrates with other tools and programs seamlessly.
- The program can be a little slow to operate.
- AEM is considered as one of the most expensive services in the market.
Canto is a DAM solution that allows your company to organize, find, and share necessary files.
With this program, you can organize assets into folders. One of its strong features is the smart albums, where assets are grouped by type. You can even create a personal album so you can take hold of your needed files immediately. With these aspects, you could label files easily with tags, smart tags, and keywords. With Canto, you don’t have to worry about lost assets and whatnot.
Given Canto’s strong search feature, you need not waste time looking up files and other assets. All you just need is type the file name, dimension, or meta-data. You also have the option to search by comment, description, or other categories. With these features, you can have unprecedented access to your assets right away.
Sharing is also made easier with the Canto DAM system. Through its portals or small libraries, you can modify user access to certain files. You could also share your assets through links, which you have the option to make time-sensitive (expiring links).
Canto pricing is only available upon request.
- Canto comes with a user-friendly interface.
- This DAM system comes with a free 15-day trial – no credit card needed.
- You could add users to the platform without having to pay for them.
- Unfortunately, it has a weak facial recognition feature for photo tagging.
- Even if you are a techie, setting up this program will take some time.
Bynder is one of the best solutions for enterprise asset management. It boasts of a beautiful interface and great user experience, both of which match the system’s strong faculties.
Bynder pegs itself as the DAM for enterprises that focus on their end-users. With this program, clients can automate the flow of assets for widescale use within the organization.
With its digital asset management feature, Bynder users need not worry about disorganized folders and distribution problems. Since it comes with a creative collaboration tool, workers can navigate through intuitive stages that help reduce workflow problems.
In terms of branding, Bynder offers two strong suits. One is the brand template, which allows marketing teams to design content without deviating from company principles. As such, this feature can help promote brand consistency – which leads to better marketing in the long run.
Another Bynder feature is the brand guideline, a style guide that enables a stakeholder to go through branding activities. With this, requests are eliminated, and as such could save users a great deal of time.
- Essential plan costs $450 a month.
- Team Plan costs $1,250 a month.
- Corporate Plan costs $2,250 a month.
- Bynder is popular for its user-friendly interface.
- This DAM system facilitates easy management, tagging, and version control of all assets.
- Bynder offers remarkable support services.
- This DAM program has some load time and responsiveness issues.
- The search feature can be troublesome for most users.
Widen is an enterprise DAM system that helps organize files – so you can access or share them efficiently. After all, the program offers multiple search options – be it the usual quick search – or the more complicated faceted or predictive search.
Batch uploading is very easy with Widen. You can customize metadata and categories, then place such files into collections or portals. As an administrator, you can control and audit versions – even manage rights as necessary.
With Widen, you can make sure that only those permitted to access the files can get it. With its enterprise governance controls and granular permissions, you don’t have to worry about the security of some sensitive assets.
Widen offers integration to most programs, so you could use Adobe Creative Cloud or other file management systems without running into any problems.
This intuitive DAM system costs about $20,000 a year.
- Widen offers a free trial for interested users.
- Most users remark it as an easy to use program.
- Widen’s comprehensive search system allows you to easily find your assets – no matter how deep in folders they might be.
- This DAM program loads slowly at times.
- Custom enhancements for your Widen system will cost you a great deal of money.
If you are looking for a DAM system that can help transform your marketing operations for the better, then you should consider IntelligenceBank. After all, this program comes with superb features that can make the lives of your employees easier.
For one, it comes with advanced search and global filters. You can easily look up assets by typing its title, file content, description, keywords, or metadata. You can even create your own taxonomy, which makes searching files even easier.
With its automatic keyword tagging, you can save a great deal of time when uploading multiple files. Given its AI feature, the DAM can give accurate suggestions for asset keywords.
IntelligenceBank also assures the security of your files with the help of its e-mail alerts. You get to receive one whenever a new asset or version is uploaded to the DAM software.
In terms of creative collaboration, you could easily share links to authorized users. You can even add comments or annotations on assets before permitting their release.
With its analytics feature, you also receive reports on content that performs the best in the market.
IntelligenceBank’s DAM plan starts with 500GB storage.
Pricing is available upon request, though some reports say that fees start at $9,000 a year.
- IntelligenceBank comes with an interface that is intuitive, customizable, and easy to navigate.
- IntelligenceBank’s account management staff are very responsive to comments, queries, and other concerns.
- This DAM system easily provides asset access to vendors.
- The more data you have, the more expensive your plan will be.
- Not all asset files can be shown in preview mode.
Brandfolder deems itself to be the best DAM product when it comes to enterprise usability. With this intuitive program, you can locate assets easily and hastily.
Apart from improved asset access, Brandfolder also makes it easy for employees to share files. Whether it’s just one – or thousands – the program can help you share assets appropriately with its permission and privacy controls.
Brandfolder also uses advanced logistics and insights to help users understand how these files are used. With the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, you can determine your best assets – and what’s being done with them.
Integration is another one of Brandfolder’s strong facets. This program works seamlessly well with content management systems, workflow programs, content creation, and sales enablement systems, among many others.
Brandfolder offers two types of plans: Premium and Enterprise.
Pricing for these is available upon request.
- The Brandfolder system is very easy to use.
- With its strong integrations, Brandfolder can help you transfer your assets easily from other platforms (such as Dropbox).
- Sharing is easy with its bulk share or distribution feature.
- Brandfolder may prove to be a little expensive for small enterprises.
- Uploaded videos do not show runtimes.
With many companies crafting different types of assets nowadays, it pays to have a good system where you can store and easily retrieve them. Enter ImageRelay, a DAM system that provides you with almost everything you need – and more.
With this program, you can create multiple asset templates with relative ease. It also has a custom metadata feature that allows you to segregate your files according to format, product type, or campaign.
Should you wish to improve the search index, you can make use of ImageRelay’s tagging feature. These keywords can help emphasize an asset’s purpose or element, which can make access to it as easy as pie.
ImageRelay also comes with a controlled vocabulary, a collection of high-value words that can help you maintain consistency among your many files. Here, you can add single or bulk freeform natural language whenever you want.
If you want to see your file’s previous versions, fret not as ImageRelay comes with a versioning feature. You can check, download, even revert to the earlier version if you deem it necessary.
Should you make changes, you can have this file updated in all the libraries. That’s because ImageRelay has a single sourcing feature, which would save you the painstaking process of updating all files in various categories.
ImageRelay offers different plans for various organizations.
- Smaller teams can avail of the Startup or Growth packages, which cost $99 and $300 per month respectively.
- Larger organizations, on the other hand, can opt for the Professional ($750) or custom-priced Enterprise plans.
- ImageRelay is an intuitive and easy-to-use interface.
- The system provides a beautiful collection feature that attracts many clients.
- You can download your assets in multiple sizes.
- Drag and drop features could benefit from a few tweaks.
- ImageRelay needs to improve its copy-paste features.
Aprimo is a DAM system that allows you to manage your content – and enhance the overall brand experience. This platform is not just a place to store assets, it also promotes collaboration between different employees.
Aprimo is beneficial for the conceptualization and approval of assets, which could lead to better content management, enhanced velocity, and increased market speed.
Since you can keep virtually any type of asset in the Aprimo DAM, you can store text, media files, audio, video, among many other formats.
With its central yet scalable system, users can localize content, languages, and channels. As such, it can help maintain brand consistency, given its single record system for marketing channels.
Aprimo also offers content insights, which could tell you how your assets are being utilized in the company. With the help of its DAM analytics, you can unlock all potentials – and enjoy higher ROI.
Aprimo pricing plans are available upon request.
- Aprimo allows for the allocation of assets for multi-brand activities.
- The system promotes good collaboration between team members.
- Aprimo boasts of good workflow management features.
- Aprimo may be a little hard to use. Some people report using the program for 6 months before they got the hang of it.
- Sadly, this DAM system comes with a bare user interface.
Cloudinary is nothing but ordinary, as it is heralded as one of the more dynamic DAM systems in the market. With this program, you can craft, oversee, and share files without the usual fuss.
With Cloudinary, DAM goes beyond the usual storing, searching, and sharing. After all, this program enables you to create visual performances that can engage even the pickiest of customers.
It helps remove content silos easily since Cloudinary assures that your files never leave its single data source. Collaboration and publishing are also made easier with its intuitive AI facets. Most importantly, you could customize your DAM processes with its custom widgets and very intuitive UI.
- What’s great about Cloudinary is that it offers a free plan – no credit card required.
- Should you need more comprehensive features, you could go for the Plus ($89), Advanced ($224), and custom-priced programs. All fees are billed monthly.
- Offers a free plan!
- Cloudinary comes with an intuitive API.
- You can expect exceptional support from the Cloudinary support team.
- The admin console is not that user-friendly.
- Cloudinary’s drag and drop tool still has room for improvement.
If you need a place to store, file, and share your files, then the Coschedule Asset Organizer is a DAM system that you should consider. Here, you can manage a centralized library easily. Since you can segregate files according to certain categories, you and your fellow users can search for content without much difficulty.
With Coschedule, you can make sure that the newest files are being searched. As such, your teammates won’t make the mistake of using an older asset version.
Another great thing about Coschedule is its easy sharing feature. Apart from your fellow members, your clients, and other stakeholders also get an opportunity to view or download pertinent files through secure links.
What’s great about Coschedule Asset Organizer comes with a free 14-day trial. Its DAM system, which is included in its marketing suite, has the pricing available upon request.
- Coschedule features an intuitive and easy to use interface.
- It grants the user the fuss-free ability to track certain files and assets.
- The system integrates easily with programs such as WordPress for easy file uploading.
Coschedule tends to run a little slow even with cache-clearing.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are four DAM classifications:
a. Brand Management System
This program focuses on brand presentation. As such, it can make images, logos, fonts, and other types of media readily accessible.
b. Library or Archive
This permits bulk storage, especially for certain photos or video files.
c. Production Management System
This is best for files that are created for live use. As such, it suits media production companies, visual effects industries, and gaming corporations.
This allows digital content to be delivered on-demand. For example, retailers can stream videos or movies to subscribers.
A DAM program needs the following features to be successful:
a. Asset Uploading
This enables the client to upload a single file – to as much as thousands of assets. At the same time, asset uploading includes the process of metadata extraction.
b. Asset Management
This covers the manipulation and conversion of files, as well as the process of metadata editing. It should also include version features and digital right management. Not only do these make the file access more secure, but it also promotes easy sharing.
c. Asset Sharing
This enables asset sharing through a variety of channels. It should cover direct download, e-mail, social media, or embed code sharing.
d. Asset Versioning
This permits the publishing of content. With asset versioning, you could resize and crop assets and embed them on a certain web page. As such, this could help you generate insights with the help of geo-tagged views.
This displays the different assets, their numbers, as well as the views, uploads, and downloads. In most cases, it portrays thumbnails of the recently-added files.
f. Search Capacity
With the thousands (if not millions) of files that may be saved in a DAM software, it’s essential to have a good search feature. This would allow you to look up a file based on keywords, file type, metadata, or upload date, to name a few.
g. File Name Management
This feature enables you to check for duplicate assets, retain metadata, and maintain version controls, among many others.
h. Roles and Permissions Administration
With this aspect, you can set levels to restrict access to just the authorized personnel.
A DAM software offers many advantages to any business, be it big or small. They include:
a. Centrally-located organization of digital assets and files
b. Optimal management of photos, press kits, and other relevant files
c. Easier file searching with the help of the DAM software’s search features
d. Automated watermarking processes for images and other media files
e. Automated image tagging with the help of a facial recognition system
f. Improved permission management in terms of file copyrights
g. Enhanced workflow automation
h. Better team creativity
A lot of industries will reap a lot from using a DAM software. Here are some good examples:
DAMs provide an excellent experience for agency clients. After all, it can help maintain a web portal where files are kept secured and organized. Since the DAM can make searching and retrieving files easier, customers are more likely to stick with DAM-equipped agencies.
DAM can assist designers in optimizing their workflows. They need not waste a lot of time as they can easily search files in a DAM system. The time that they usually lose over this process could be better used on other projects.
More importantly, the availability of files in DAM software can help them repurpose products – another factor that can help them save time and money.
Marketing professionals can help improve brand growth and enhance brand consistency with the help of a DAM system. At the same time, it can help them craft marketing products (based on templates) that they could easily distribute to marketers in and out of the country. As such, marketers could repurpose these products to appeal to the language needs of international players.
d. Sales Teams
With DAMs benefitting marketers, they are useful to sales teams as well. After all, they are given immediate access to all the files they need to close sales.
Like sales teams, DAMs give distributors easy access to important brand materials. This can result in better brand consistency – and an improved delivery process.
f. IT Professionals
Cloud-based DAMs will help feel IT experts feel more secure. After all, they don’t have to waste their time on running installations or deployments, or managing FTP servers or third-party senders.
Like most programs, DAM software changes to adapt to the current trends or needs. Here are some of the latest additions to some DAM programs:
a. Artificial Intelligence
AI allows a DAM software to automatically check the content. At the same time, it enables the creation of appropriate metadata tags.
With the use of machine learning algorithms, DAMs could recommend activities for a certain asset. Through usage patterns, automated processes can provide you with the assets you need – right before you need them.
c. Metadata Management
With the help of technology, DAM programs can predict relationships between assets. As such, it could provide metadata suggestions as needed.
Digital asset management systems provide excellent storage and sharing capacities for all types of business. With the many options out there, you should consider the program type, integrations, access, user-friendliness, client support, and cost of the system. Add to that, you should take a good look at your company’s stakeholders – and IT capacity – before you make a decision.