What is digital asset management (DAM)?

Digital asset management (DAM) is a type of software that companies use to store, organize, find, and share digital files. DAM systems provide employees and internal and external stakeholders with access to a brand’s digital asset library of images, videos, presentations, and documents. DAM platforms help teams work more efficiently and leverage digital content to achieve their strategic goals.

Why is digital asset management important?

A digital asset management platform allows team members and external partners to easily access, modify, and share brand assets and other digital files. Enterprise companies and small brands alike turn to a DAM solution to solve challenges that dispersed teams face, including file management, version control, instant asset access and permissions, and the inability to quickly share assets. DAM software becomes a key component of a brand’s marketing stack and replaces the need for cloud storage entirely as the source of truth for company assets. With a connected workforce and all DAM content at every team’s disposal, brands reap the benefits of digital asset management, including accelerating digital content to market, increasing collaboration and production, upgrading content workflows, improving brand identity and equity across markets, and more.

of marketers waste time and money recreating unused or missing assets.

What are the benefits of digital asset management?

Increase content value

Brands that choose to use a digital asset management solution streamline their content operations and maximize value across the asset lifecycle. Teams use DAM systems to quickly organize, find, and repurpose content. Since branded content is instantly accessible, marketing teams, sales reps, and external parties can easily share digital files, amplifying brand reach and generating additional revenue streams.

Boost productivity

DAM platforms allow brands to spend less time and money on internal hiring and external partners while scaling content production by seamlessly aligning the marketing department, marketing toolkit, and organization’s digital assets. A DAM platform eliminates busywork so that teams can get to work on mission-critical tasks like asset creation for product launches and branded promotions faster than ever before.

Speed up time-to-market

Digital asset management software removes content bottlenecks and gets branded content on digital channels quickly with instant access to company assets, channel integrations to leading project management software and image editing software, and built-in brand management. A DAM system accelerates the production of creative files and reduces requests for creative teams.

Expand business to new markets

A DAM platform can help maintain brand consistency across all digital channels. With all digital assets accessible, teams can find, adapt, and reuse marketing collateral in new languages or for new marketing campaigns instead of creating rich media from scratch.

Better brand management

Digital asset management solutions strengthen and protect an organization’s brand identity regardless of which teams share digital files. Using DAM software as a central platform for all digital assets simplifies brand management and ensures brand consistency across every digital customer experience.

Lessen business risk

Regain control of your digital assets and avoid liability from misused content. Digital rights management (DRM) safeguards your sales and marketing teams from sharing or publishing copyrighted digital files without usage rights.

Close more deals

A digital asset management system enables sales teams to win with persuasive and instantly-available brand assets. DAM software even helps creative teams distribute digital assets efficiently to sales reps and control asset access to ensure every digital asset shared with customers is always accurate and on-message.

How DAM supports your digital transformation strategy

collage schematically showing video features

Maximize content value with longer content lifecycles

48% of content and creative teams across the US and UK are reporting that increasing content program ROI is a top priority. And the best way to increase your digital content ROI is by extending the digital asset lifecycle. Your organization’s digital assets are powerful and valuable, but they can create more value if assets are available to marketing teams for repurposing in new use cases, new markets, and even into new languages.

Digital asset management includes technologies such as powerful search and filtering, smart tags, and facial recognition, making your valuable brand assets, product shots, and promotions instantly accessible to marketing teams. As digital assets are found and used by the marketing department for the latest marketing campaigns, your assets increase in value. And since DAM platforms include in-document search and text recognition, your content can easily be translated into new languages faster than ever before.

Managing content at scale

Enterprise companies are looking for the latest ways to automate processes, including easy ways to manage company assets. Digital asset management software keeps an organization’s digital asset library neat and tidy so that sales and marketing teams can find the right digital content. DAM software includes metadata management technologies such as smart tags and folders structured by content type along with text and facial recognition. Creative teams can find brand assets for their next creative design, and sales and marketing teams have instant access to the latest marketing collateral and promotional materials. Leave the burden of content and metadata management to DAM, so your team can focus on business-critical functions.

Increase asset velocity by bringing your team and assets together

Digital asset management (DAM) creates a cohesive digital content ecosystem that streamlines your workflows and boosts productivity. DAM achieves this by integrating your brand assets into the marketing toolkit your creative teams and marketing teams are already using. Instead of switching between tools, your creatives can create, edit, and share digital assets from within creative tools, and your marketing team can collaborate on and share marketing materials across digital channels. And since every department can focus on their core responsibilities with DAM software at the center of the marketing stack, creatives can make more content and marketers can launch marketing campaigns faster.

Faster project completion and approvals with stakeholders

A digital asset management solution lets your team tackle the review and approval process like a pro. A DAM solution includes features such as digital asset version control, comments, workflows, and even whether content is approved to use. Creative teams can upload and notify stakeholders inside the DAM platform of new creative files in need of review. Internal and external stakeholders and any other external partners or parties that need to review content can easily leave comments. Also, creative teams can review stakeholder feedback, and edit and save assets back to the digital asset library for the next review cycle. And creatives can instantly share content across teams the moment it is approved. No more missed emails with attachments or reviews of an older version of a digital file ever again.

What is a digital asset?

selection of digital asset types in a grid: documents, images, videos, audio, guidelines and presentations

A digital asset is any file an organization has rights to use that is stored and managed digitally. Digital assets are incredibly important to enterprise companies and smaller organizations because digital content fuels product launches, marketing campaigns, sales enablement efforts, and social media channels. Digital files are also used internally for content in newsletters, product sheets, and even corporate intranets. Digital content is easy to create, collaborate on and edit, find using digital asset management metadata, and share amongst dispersed teams and external stakeholders.

What are examples of digital assets?

Examples of digital assets can include images, documents, videos, presentations, and audio files, among other digital file types. Specifically, many organizations regularly work with the following examples of digital marketing assets and their attached metadata:

Images and photos of products, models, locations, and moreBranded content such as illustrations from creative teamsBrand guidelines, which includes logos, colors, typography, and other brand assetsVideo files and other media assets for products, features, and webinarsAudio files for podcasts and customer interviewsPDF and text-based documents such as blogs, eBooks, and sales decksCreative files from Adobe CC appsOther digital assets such as CAD, 3d image files, and even rich media

Can digital asset management manage videos, audio files, and media assets?

Digital asset management platforms can manage many file types, including video assets, audio files, and rich media assets. Video content such as webinars, product explainers, and brand videos can be stored, managed, downloaded, watched, and even shared to marketing teams for distribution onto digital channels. Audio files from customer interviews or podcast episodes can be stored, managed, listened to, and shared using DAM as well. Some digital asset management systems come with features to scale video programs such as image recognition and auto captioning.

collage schematically representing facial recognition feature

What does digital asset management software do?

Organize brand assets and search your content library

A digital asset management system solves common DAM challenges such as metadata and asset management, instant asset access, and access permissions.

DAM platforms automatically organize your digital asset library by populating contextual metadata from your digital assets. Asset metadata such as contextual image tagging and albums by asset type are automatically generated and added to your digital asset library. Facial recognition captures people in images and videos, while in-document search technologies store text from documents.

Since your organization’s digital assets become fully searchable and access permissions are built-in for user accounts, your sales teams, creative teams, and marketing teams have instant access to the right marketing materials.

Plan projects and collaborate on new creative assets

Digital asset management systems streamline asset creation, collaboration, and approval workflows.

External parties such as agencies or photographers can send new brand assets and metadata for collaboration and review with DAM features such as upload links and private workspaces. And marketing teams can crop and resize approved digital content using DAM software tools to give creative teams back much-needed time.

As digital assets are reviewed by internal and external stakeholders, DAM software includes comments and annotations built-in to accelerate the approval process and keep your digital assets moving toward the market. DAM systems also store your brand guidelines and brand templates to maintain brand consistency and brand identity across your organization’s digital assets.

Integrate digital asset management within your marketing toolkit

You need to speed up time-to-market for your content by accelerating the digital asset lifecycle. Digital asset management systems accelerate digital content velocity since DAM can integrate your digital assets into marketing tools. DAM platforms easily integrate with project management software, image editing software, productivity tools, distribution platforms, and other tools.

Since all your digital files and media assets are instantly accessible within the project and creative management tools your team is already using, creative teams can accelerate the production of new marketing materials for sales and marketing teams. And sales reps and marketing teams have instant access to approved branded content for their digital channels and marketing campaigns within popular distribution and social media platforms.

Share and publish brand assets while controlling your brand

Digital assets create the most impact on digital channels and in marketing campaigns when sales and marketing teams have instant access to share digital assets. But enterprise companies often struggle to maintain brand consistency as teams share potentially-offbrand assets such as video files, rich media, and presentation decks.

A digital asset management solution includes features such as access permissions and version control. Internal and external stakeholders will always review up-to-date assets during the approval process. Also, sales and marketing teams have instant access to share approved and up-to-date assets directly from your DAM platform. With digital rights management (DRM) included, along with asset expiration dates, one of the most common DAM challenges of unapproved digital asset usage is eliminated entirely.

Sales reps will close more deals using branded portals which create customized and tailored experiences for clients and prospects. And sales and marketing teams can collaborate easier using share links for file sharing of media assets, brand assets, and other digital files.

Use digital asset management software to keep your content secure

Enterprise companies and scaling brands need to regain control of security over their digital asset library. An organization’s digital assets and branded content are invaluable and intertwined to organizational revenue growth and must be protected and shared correctly to ensure compliance and maintain brand integrity.

Digital asset management solutions often include the following tools, technologies, and processes designed to safeguard customer data while maintaining compliance and data privacy:

End-to-end access control management and granular data access controls24/7 thread detection, monitoring, and incident responseBusiness continuity and disaster recovery and platform availability guaranteesRegular employee phishing testing and awarenessMalware protection, detection, and reportingAnnual security posture review for risk managementPhysical security at cloud service provider (CSP)HIPAA, GDPR, SOC 2, US Privacy Laws, ATIPPA

With DAM software, you can restrict access to specific content based on user accounts or even groups of users, such as sales reps, human resources, IT teams, or even external parties. Access permissions and security protocols provide additional control and shield your branded content from threats.

Analyze content performance and audit content

As an organization’s digital asset library grows, it can become increasingly difficult to gauge which digital assets are working and which are not for sales and marketing teams. DAM platform analytics and reporting features allow you to understand what content is being accessed, how often, and by whom.

Administrators can access a personalized dashboard and get a glimpse of metrics such as top digital file shares and user logins. Or, they can drill into specific reporting to understand top keywords and downloads. Also, you can now gain insight into how external partners or influencers are using content inside of branded portals.

DAM software makes it easy for marketing leadership to make better content strategy decisions based on actual data. You can optimize content operations and sales enablement efforts by creating more marketing materials and assets that actually produce results. And you can identify content gaps that your creative teams need to shore up with DAM system content auditing features.

Archive finished projects and manage cold storage

Scaling brands and growing organizations need easy ways to control digital file circulation and handle digital asset archiving. Sales and marketing teams must always have the right level of asset access during the entire asset lifecycle. With digital asset management, archiving older digital content is easy while leaving brand assets accessible to creative teams for reuse in creating future marketing collateral.

DAM software comes equipped with the ability to control digital content circulation with a click. Using approval and expiration functionality, promotional materials and other marketing collateral can easily be accessed or removed. Make your archival workflows easy for creative teams by automating asset expiration and archiving.

Creative teams can also maximize content value by recycling archived creative files. Boost productivity for creative teams by placing older company assets at their fingertips. These files eliminate the need to create brand assets from scratch and accelerate the asset lifecycle for current marketing campaigns, since new creative projects take less time and effort to complete.

collage schematically showing cold storage feature

For digital content that you need to keep but don’t plan to use in the future, cold storage can be added to your DAM content library.

Top digital asset management business use cases

Brand management

55% of content and creative teams across the US and UK stated that improving their customer experiences was one of their top priorities for 2023. But brands scaling their sales and marketing teams and marketing toolkit struggle to maintain brand consistency and portray a strong brand identity across digital channels and touchpoints.

Digital asset management software solves brand management challenges by storing, managing, and sharing your company assets and brand guidelines from one source of truth. Digital asset management solutions offer unique brand management controls such as digital rights management (DRM), asset circulation and expiration, branded portals, and even download presets for all your digital channels. Creative teams can keep generating new creative files due to 24/7 on-demand asset access. Also, sales and marketing teams generate the same great customer experience at every touchpoint by using brand assets and unified messaging.

Marketing Teams

Your growing marketing teams need easier ways to launch their marketing campaigns quickly into new markets and maintain brand consistency. Also, your marketing leaders are looking for better data and reporting capabilities on current marketing materials to improve future campaign effectiveness.

Imagine being able to share assets and files across digital channels with ease. DAM systems make this dream a reality with features such as branded portals, share links, built-in access permissions and groups, and instant access to up-to-date assets within your marketing toolkit. Every marketing team member can easily maintain brand consistency in campaigns and strengthen your brand identity.

Marketing leadership also gets insights into what content is working based on actual data. DAM platforms come with visual dashboards, reporting on metrics such as top keywords and downloads, and even digital content auditing abilities. Sales and marketing teams can pivot to more effective content and marketing campaigns faster than ever before. And since marketing teams have greater visibility on existing digital assets, content value goes up as it gets used across multiple campaigns.

Use digital asset management to improve campaign collaboration

Digital asset management can improve campaign collaboration with better content ingestion and file sharing capabilities. DAM systems make it easy to get rich media from field events to creative teams for editing, and creative teams can share final digital assets with marketing teams using share links or branded portals. You can collaborate on the latest marketing assets with regional or global teams using digital workspaces. And feedback loops are shortened between marketing leadership and creative teams with a streamlined content review and approval process.

Creative Teams

52% of content and creative contributors across the US and UK surveyed said that workflows around content creation are in need of improvement. Even worse, 41% of larger content and creative teams with 20 or more people contributing to content production are experiencing wasted budget due to workflow challenges. DAM software can streamline workflows and boost productivity for creative teams.

Digital asset management includes features that streamline creative file creation across the asset lifecycle. For instance, most DAM platforms include numerous integrations to creative applications such as Adobe Creative Cloud and Canva, among others. Graphic designers on hybrid and remote teams can search on-demand for company assets, edit them, and save finished creative files back to the DAM platform without leaving their creativity tools. Designers can also find existing creative files for new projects instead of starting each digital asset from scratch, saving time and increasing output.

And DAMs can help creative teams regain control of their brand assets with rights management, asset circulation, and expiration controls included. Review and approval cycles are accelerated with in-platform comments and version control on assets.

Content operations

Content and brand managers struggle to ensure sales reps, marketing teams, and web teams are equipped with the right content at the right time — and the demand for more digital content is increasing. There are new platforms and web pages to populate branded content to and new marketing and social media campaigns begging for the right digital assets. You need to scale content operations with better workflows for planning, creating, managing, and sharing digital files.

Digital asset management acts as a content hub for the entire digital asset lifecycle, tying your entire marketing toolkit together. Your creative teams, sales teams, and marketing teams can instantly access the digital files they need. DAM syncs with leading work management, creativity, productivity, file storage, and social tools your teams are already using, or they can search inside the DAM platform using powerful search tools too. DAM software can also integrate with marketing automation platforms, ensuring brand assets are available to marketing teams right where they need them. And with features like branded portals and share links, digital assets are easy to send and receive.

DAM software also includes CDN links to ensure that digital assets automatically populate across platforms in the most up-to-date asset version. In this way, DAM automates content delivery to platforms and websites, eliminating tedious workflows and saving developers and creatives time.

Sales enablement

Your sales reps need to be equipped with the latest brand assets and training materials, but sales collateral is scattered across cloud storage, sales team devices, or shared drives. Sales teams need easy ways to share branded content that excites potential buyers. Digital asset management gives your team control over distribution for training and sales collateral, streamlining your organization’s sales enablement process. DAM also provides a tailored experience for sales to use for prospecting and closing deals, unifying sales teams and creating one cohesive brand experience for your customers.

Branded portals are included with digital asset management platforms. Portals are a unique feature that gives sales reps a customized and branded experience they will want to engage with to cultivate leads. All sales training materials, approved and on-brand sales collateral, and even the latest marketing materials can be inside the sales portal, making it easy for reps to find what they need. And DAM platforms include notification capabilities to let sales reps know when new content is ready for use. Say goodbye to offbrand sales calls and hello to a single source truth for all brand assets for sales teams.

collage schematically representing Canto asset library

Who uses a digital asset management system?

Power creative teams to do more

Creative teams everywhere choose digital asset management to help them manage the entire asset lifecycle. With DAM, creatives can search for brand assets, edit content, and save digital assets back to their digital asset library without leaving the creative tools they use daily. DAM software integrates with many popular marketing tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Canva, and Figma. Once creative files are final and approved, creative teams can instantly share their work with sales and marketing teams.

Entrust sales and marketing teams with on-demand content

Empower sales and marketing teams with on-brand digital assets right when they need them. With digital asset management software, share training videos and sales decks in a branded portal to power prospecting for sales reps. Also, distribute the latest product content, promotions, rich media, and video files all from one place. Marketing teams can crop images right from the DAM solution for their campaign needs.

Digital asset management supports internal teams

Digital files are used by everyone across your organization, so every team should have a spot at the proverbial table. Digital asset management can help support every type of user group, including product marketing, demand generation, and information technology (IT) teams with their specific needs. Product marketing can easily approve and distribute on-brand product shots and promotions. Demand generation can create dazzling newsletters and landing pages with branded assets. Finally, IT can restrict access to assets, handle access permissions, and monitor user accounts — all with DAM.

DAM software streamlines external distribution

Working with external parties such as agencies, freelancers, photography teams, or even influencers can be difficult due to insufficient control over asset versions, access permissions, and user accounts. Digital asset management takes the headache out of file collaboration and sharing. DAM software includes version control, asset approval status, asset expiration dates, and user groups, keeping external teams from sharing digital content that isn’t approved or is out of date. External partners can use branded portals for a tailored experience and streamline the approval and file sharing processes. And upload and share links make digital asset ingestion and sharing small collections of files a breeze.

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8 steps to choose the right digital asset management solution

  1. Identify digital asset management platform stakeholders:As you get started selecting a DAM system, identify all individuals in your organization that will play a part in the DAM solution purchase, implementation, and adoption.
  2. Learn use cases of stakeholders and users:Find out DAM platform users and their use cases. Typical power users will include communications, marketing, design, and photography teams. Other users may include sales reps, product and demand generation, and web teams.
  3. Key DAM solution functionality and integrations required:Discover DAM functionality required to support all users. Ensure the DAM has robust search, metadata management automation, adequate access permissions and user groups, and enough users and portals to support your users now and as your teams grow. Also, check each DAM solution for integration compatibility to the marketing toolkit your team is using.
  4. Test DAM platforms for key functionality qualification:Demo and test out DAM platforms that meet your base criteria for functionality. Ensure the DAM solutions are easy to use, content is extremely searchable, and other critical qualifications are met.
  5. Customizable DAM solutions for brand consistency:Discover whether each DAM solution can handle brand management effectively. This includes a customizable user interface, branded portals, and management and sharing of brand guidelines.
  6. DAM solution security and architecture:Have someone from your team check the level of security of the DAM solution design. Also, ensure it meets company security standards and compliance needs and contains robust security measures and in-depth defense measures to continuously protect your digital assets.
  7. Implementation, customer experience, and user adoption:Check out how much effort the data migration to the DAM platform will take. Specific integrations with your current file storage can help, and see what tools or services are offered for migration assistance. Next, explore bulk tagging, AI tools included, and any metadata best practices. See if each DAM solution includes SSO and adequate access permissions and user accounts you need.
  8. Look for simple and scalable pricing models:Ensure the DAM platform meets pricing requirements for your budgeted spend. Pay attention to what is included in the base price and any other additional costs the DAM solution purchase may incur. Some DAM solutions offer simple and scalable pricing models, so you can easily scale your digital asset library and spend accordingly.

Frequently asked questions about digital asset management

When evaluating DAM vs CMS, a digital asset management (DAM) system centralizes storage, management, and sharing of an organization’s digital assets, whereas a content management system (CMS) publishes text and media to a blog or website.

Digital asset management (DAM) systems can be secure, but the level of security is dependent on the specific software design and implementation of the software. When choosing a digital asset management platform, it is important to ensure it meets company security standards and compliance needs. DAM systems can be designed with robust security measures and in-depth defense measures to continuously protect your digital assets.

A digital asset manager manages and controls an organization's content, including metadata management for assets, folder structure, and access permissions.

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