Media Asset Management Software
Tools to organize and manage your brand's valuable media assets.
Companies that rely on media assets need the right tools to organize and manage them. That’s where media asset management software (MAM) comes in. By creating a central hub to manage media assets, MAM systems make it easier for organizations and the people who work for them to find, access, and use the media content they need.
What are media assets, exactly? Many people use the terms “digital assets” and “media assets” interchangeably. While they are related, there are some differences. A digital asset is any digital material — including photos, text, video, animation, and graphics — owned by an individual or organization and used to realize value. Media assets’ meaning is a subset of this category: video or audio files owned by an individual or organization.
Entities across the globe own digital assets and media assets, including for-profit businesses, non-profits, educational institutions, major corporations, and sole proprietors — such as social media influencers and local businesses. Basically, anyone who conducts business or promotes anything online owns digital assets — and for most businesses, that includes media assets.
Not only does MAM software provide a place to organize and manage those valuable assets, it also makes them easier to work with. Reporting functionality provides insights into how individual media assets are performing. Simplified file conversions save teams lots of time, especially when multiplied over thousands of conversions each year. Many digital asset management software solutions provide dashboards and collaboration tools to provide admins with a birds-eye view and help teams work together.
In short, a quality media asset management tool will remove friction from your team’s workflows, reducing stress and increasing the quality of an organization’s media content. So how do you choose the right MAM software for your business? Here are some things to consider when researching your options:
Storing and managing every digital asset using a digital asset management platform is the first step toward maximizing time and effort. In addition to a centralized storage solution, you need a complete media asset management workflow solution. The best digital asset management software will include multi-user shared spaces for access to digital assets and project collaborations. Different people within a company use the same digital assets for various reasons. Effective workflow solutions use media asset management cloud-based platforms, allowing team members to access everything they need anytime and anywhere.
What is a media asset management workflow? A workflow, in general, is a sequence of tasks used to process a set of data. For example, the workflow for media asset management includes every step of the process, taking an asset from draft through editing, then to approval, and ultimately where and how the asset is used. In addition, a digital asset management platform will allow you to see an overall view of the lifecycle of a project. With a comprehensive view, you can check on the progress of a project and communicate with team members along the way, all within the same platform.
As the demand for digital media content has grown, so too has the demand for sophisticated media asset management solutions. Software solutions for asset management work best when they include built-in customizable workflow options. In the past, in-house team members worked on individual devices storing and sharing digital files via email or USB devices. Eventually, online media creation platforms were introduced.
These web-based services make digital creation easier; however, saving and sharing digital assets can be time-consuming and inefficient. The best digital asset management software includes workflows that eliminate time-consuming, complicated sharing and collaboration issues.
Asset management workflows on media asset management cloud-based platforms can speed up approvals and send automatic notifications to team members. In addition, they offer asset transparency and feature options to set the urgency levels for unprocessed assets. Overall, a collaborative dashboard feature with media asset management workflows streamlines the entire asset creation process, including ongoing management and access to the finished asset.
Digital assets often include pictures. Photography involves countless high-resolution images. These pictures must be stored, edited, and distributed. Digital asset management for photographers just makes sense. However, due to the number of files and the size of each high-resolution image, photography digital asset management (DAM) requires some unique features.
Photo organizing software tools are an integral part of photography DAM. The best digital asset management software for photographers includes features such as:
Some companies have photographers on staff or use large amounts of photography for marketing purposes. When choosing a digital asset management solution, assess your photography needs. For example, companies like Canto offer a comprehensive digital asset management software solution that includes photography DAM capabilities. Canto DAM offers photo organizing software with advanced features.
There are many paid and free photography DAM options available. Many paid options include free trials and tiered pricing based on your needs. Determining which options are best for you will depend on how many digital assets you need to manage. For example, businesses may require more features functional for multiple team members. Personal digital asset management software needs may require less functionality while providing valuable digital files organization.
Several years ago, video made its way to the top of the list for in-demand online content. Platforms like YouTube and Vine paved the way for TikTok and Instagram Reels. Video content is entertaining while serving a purpose for business brand recognition and connecting with customers. As a result, video content becomes a digital asset. Video content comes in different formats requiring high bandwidth and large storage capacity. Video asset management is a must when choosing a digital asset management software.
Similar to photography DAMs, video media asset management must include tags and metadata to consistently name files. Implementing consistent naming conventions with all of your digital assets ensures your team can quickly identify and access the needed files. Video media asset management can help eliminate the often chaotic challenge of sorting video files to find the correct version for a project.
Another business sector that needs efficient asset management solutions is video games. Designing video games includes video files, audio files, animation, graphics, and many more aspects requiring file saving and sharing. Video game asset management software will have many of the same features that a comprehensive digital asset management software offers. This includes the ability to work with different file formats, handle large amounts of storage for high-resolution videos, and streamline workflow.
Another feature of DAM software solutions for video asset management includes added levels of security. Due to the competitive nature of the gaming industry, security is often a concern. Using a DAM for video game creation teams offers added protection. Using one platform for a collaborative workflow eliminates the need for file sharing via email or USB device. Cloud-based DAM software solutions allow all team members to securely access what they need, anywhere at any time.
Choosing the best media asset management software is complex. Having so many vendors to choose from does not make the process any easier. How do you know which one is a good fit for your organization? Here are a few tips to help you as you research your options.
Many MAM software companies offer a free trial period. A free trial will give you a limited time to dig into the system and test it out at no cost.
Storage solutions are not the same as DAM solutions. A storage solution is only that, a place to hold your files. Most storage solutions will not offer the suite of tools included with media asset management software.
While the best MAM systems may not check off every box on your list, they will meet most of your needs while offering ongoing support. In a fast-paced, constantly changing digital environment, you don’t want to be without support from the platform you trust to manage your digital assets.
Manages digital assets in a central location
Enables automation and enhances team creativity
Locates media files with ease using sophisticated search capabilities
One platform to manage your brand across every touchpoint
Securely share content with any audience – with expiring links, public Portals, and more
Manages permissions with extensive copyright functionality and governs access from a central platform
Choosing a digital asset management system can be overwhelming. What features matter most? What do you need to know to compare options? To make the process easier, we’ve put together an overview of key considerations, so you can shop confidently and pick the best digital asset management software for your team.
At its core, DAM pricing is based on number of seats and storage requirements. But teams shopping for a DAM software also need to be on the lookout for hidden costs. Some digital asset management companies charge extra for basic functions, like sharing portals, smart-tagging, reporting, and integrations with other software.
Most teams’ DAM requirements go beyond simple digital asset management. They also need to deliver content collections to different audiences – internally and externally. That requires a DAM software with flexible sharing tools, like Canto Portals. Consider who needs access to your content – including sales teams, distributors, customers, and agencies – and ensure your new DAM solution will allow you to easily deliver curated collections to anyone.
DAM software makes your organization’s content accessible. Look for a system that packages all of the powerful DAM features you need in an intuitive interface – so your team can hit the ground running. Also consider ease of use for external users. Do they need an account to add and retrieve content? Or can you share individual assets, upload links, and public or password-protected portals without much fuss?
Integrations speed up your workflows by connecting your content library with the software you use every day. Look for out-of-the-box integrations with tools like Adobe Creative Cloud, Workfront, and Microsoft Office. Need something more niche? Your DAM solution should offer a robust API, so your developers can connect it with any application you like.
If video is part of your content strategy, the best media asset management software for your team will make it easy to work with video. Can you preview video files without exporting them? Can you trim videos to download just the clips you need? Is there a Premiere Pro integration? Not all DAM systems are video compatible, so make sure to try before you buy.
Every organization is a unique ecosystem of people, processes and procedures. Your DAM system should adapt to your team and industry. Are there customizable fields to categorize assets and filter search results in a way that makes sense? Can you brand the interface and external portals with your logo, colors and imagery? Consider how easy these configurations are to implement. Is it a simple setting adjustment, or does it require custom code?
Keep your digital assets safe by ensuring your DAM provider uses proper encryption and security protocols. Where will your assets be stored? Is the data center secure? A reputable DAM provider shouldn’t hesitate to discuss security and data protection.
Choose a trusted vendor with an established track record of providing DAM services to major brands. DAM is a complex field, and it takes time to build up the expertise to serve clients well. Digital asset management is an ongoing process, not just a one-time installation. Look for a DAM vendor that will provide ongoing customer care from an experienced support team.