A digital asset management system (DAM) provides a central location to organize your assets (i.e., images, video and other rich media) and allows you to create rules defining how and where they can be used. You might be asking, “Our content management system (CMS) holds the images for our website. So why bother with a digital asset manager?”
One key difference between a CMS and a DAM is the way they are organized. Your CMS organizes data around the page or post where the content is used, but a cloud-based digital asset management solution can organize content based on the user and the asset.
Since your DAM is centered on the assets, you can get traffic data on individual assets. This can give you data on how different versions of promotional materials are performing without the need for setting up an A/B test.
If you’re still sending assets by email, you have no way to prevent those items from being forwarded outside of the company. And should a security issue arise, you’d have no way of doing the first step in resolving it—determining who has access.
Even if your content management system restricts who has access to your uploads folder, anyone with that access can copy, download, or delete any of your assets. With a DAM, you can set access levels by category, folder, or individual asset. And this security extends past your website to all the channels where that asset is used.
Not every access issue comes down to sinister spies and sabotage. For example, you may want to prevent the graphic designer from updating a design until you have the proper translation. With a DAM, you may be able to temporarily lock an asset to prevent changes. If you do notice a mistake in a published asset, some DAMs allow you to instantly publish or unpublish an asset.
Metadata allows you to have more granular control for each asset in a DAM. Metadata is simply data that tells us about a piece of content. A great example of metadata is the data your camera keeps that tells you the time, location, and settings that were used for each photo. You can search such metadata in your DAM.
The real power of a DAM is the metadata. DAMs are designed to easily organize assets into collections or add tags. This could save countless hours for retail, ecommerce, or other companies with large product inventories. Instead of having to remember which folder an asset was saved in, you can search for a collection like “Winter 2021.” Or you could search for a collection of tags to filter down to a specific file. For instance, you might use 2021, live events, .PSD to find the Photoshop file for a 2021 live event.
The DAM’s organizational features are vital if your market spans more than one language. Localization metadata built into your DAM lets you link the original document to its translations. Localization features are also enormously helpful for any company with regional assets. For example, a tutoring franchise will need different versions of its textbooks for each franchise. A finance company needs assets localized for different economies and laws. Your DAM makes is easy to organize, link, and find these different versions. And each translation can be tagged with its editorial status.
Speaking of editorial access, any item you upload to your DAM can be tagged as published, approved, rejected, or in review. Gone are the days of wasting time editing or sending the wrong version of an asset. These simple settings can be used for powerful workflows. Set an item as rejected and it can automatically notify the designer to take another look. Mark a design as approved, and it can automatically notify the next editor in the workflow. No need to email a new asset to your team, uploading it to a particular folder or collection can trigger that notification to your team. You can even push edits live from within the DAM, saving you the trouble of having to log in to a separate program and upload the changes.
I was once tasked with updating a magazine’s logo throughout their website. Whenever an employee needed the logo for a post or page, they uploaded it again, rather than seeking out the original. These various uploads had different names, so I couldn’t find them all via search. Without a DAM I could never be sure there wasn’t an old version still hiding on some page. I ended up looking through every single upload to find and replace all the logos—a huge time sink. That was just for one website that had been around for about a year. For an omnichannel company with years of products going through every asset wouldn’t have been feasible.
While I certainly would have appreciated the time that would have been saved, it is even more important to have the confidence that the most up-to-date information is being used consistently.
Think of the time it takes to download an image, wait for it to load in your editing software, and upload the new version. Often you will want a variety of crops for a particular image, so it can be used in different ad layouts. Save time by editing directly in your DAM. Many digital asset managers enable you to crop, rotate, or flip an image, or even change the background color.
DAMs that offer video editing features are even more valuable, because many teams don’t even have access to rudimentary video editing software. Often all a video needs is to be cut into segments, with a graceful fade in/fade out, and some background music. With a DAM, your marketing team can edit videos from a recent event without the time and expense of hiring a video editor.
Time can also be saved by using the DAM’s ability to automatically convert an uploaded video to your specified file type. If video is vital to your strategy, you should look into DAMs that do adaptive bitrate streaming and adaptive playback. These features help prevent slow or choppy video streams.
Sure, using a digital asset manager can save your company countless hours of tedium; but can it harness the power of super computers?
Yes, yes it can.
Let’s say you have a decade of press releases in your DAM. You want to find the ones related to health and fitness. Though none of them have been tagged or categorized, your DAM may be able to derive the intent of these documents using natural language processing models.
Or perhaps your marketing team has decided the next month’s social media posts should be red to coincide with a Valentine’s Day launch. AI algorithms are trained on millions of images to detect similarities. With AI powering your DAM’s search, you could search your uploads for red images. The team could then easily find old stock photos, products, or promos that could be repurposed for their February social media campaign.
AI can make suggestions as you go, so your team is more likely to tag and categorize, and more likely to do so consistently.
Of course, not every digital asset manager has all of these features. For an example of one that does, have a peek at Oracle Content Management. Our DAM is just one aspect of Oracle Content Management. Using Oracle Content Management, you can group content, images, and other assets into content blocks that can also be treated like assets.
A digital asset management system (DAM) is the perfect solution for asset security, organization and collaboration.
Interested in seeing our DAM in action? Check out our Oracle Content Management product tour.
Karma has over a decade of experience with content marketing and SEO. In addition to marketing, she writes about tech, music, and politics. You may find her shamelessly singing along with the muzak at the grocery store or giving marketing advice at KarmaBennett.com.