What is digital asset management and why do marketing tech stacks need these tools?


Digital asset management platforms, often referred to as DAM, are marketing software that stores, organizes, and makes useful an organization’s entire digital asset library. A DAM is the “one stop source of truth” where marketers can find all relevant versions of media assets created for the brand – images, PDFs, photographs, audio, video and even virtual reality or other cutting edge formats. The added benefit of a DAM is that these assets are added to metadata that can provide information about anything the marketer might want to know before using the asset, such as whether the company owns the perpetual rights to the asset. ” Use a photograph (and in which markets), if the legal team has approved a video, and an infographic or white paper has been checked to ensure it meets brand design standards.

Today, businesses use DAM in a variety of ways. Marketing agencies can take advantage of DAM technology to help their clients maintain consistency between internal content and creatives developed by partners. B2B businesses can use DAMs differently, leveraging the benefits of a centralized hub for sales and event marketing materials.

Before the rise of Software as a Service (SaaS), DAMs were installed software that resided on a company’s servers. But their usefulness has grown exponentially, especially for global and distributed organizations, now that most DAMs are cloud-based offerings.

Capabilities of digital asset management platforms

What should a DAM platform do and how do vendors differ from each other? The following areas deserve careful consideration when making a decision about a partner.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

A few years ago, the AI ​​tagging capabilities in many DAMs were nothing more than a gimmick, often creating more work than efficiency. Today, however, these systems have become more sophisticated, in part because machine learning, by its very nature, improves as it powers more data. Additionally, vendors are exploring ways to use these technologies to emerge information and automate content transformations based on usage patterns.

File formats and management

One area of ​​differentiation is the different abilities to handle a variety of file formats. While most players say they support the most popular video, image, and audio formats, if your workflow requires the use of a specialized format, you’ll want to make sure that the providers you’re considering can fully support this format.

User permissions management

The supply chain for content production can be long and complicated, involving many departments, agencies, freelancers and more. The ability to provide flexible permissions so that the right people have access to the right assets – and only the right assets – – can be very valuable.

Within branches, in particular, these capabilities can help provide convenient self-service capabilities to clients / clients. The same dynamic can occur in large companies looking to maintain a consistent brand message across geographies and verticals, where marketers and salespeople can help themselves with carefully crafted materials like sheets of paper. lines, production logs, catalogs, retail snapshots, etc.

Research and metadata

The capabilities of a DAM provider with regards to metadata and search are essential to one of the most important benefits of a digital asset management system: the ability to find assets after they are created and classified. . Most vendors now use artificial intelligence, proprietary or in partnership, for the recognition and tagging of images and videos.

Work flow management

DAM systems differ in the extent of their workflow management capabilities. Some allow collaboration via @ tagging, while others offer more comprehensive project management offerings. This feature can help marketing teams, as well as external creative resources, communicate about changes when an asset is in development or being updated.

Later in the process, they can help get approvals from brand managers, executives, and the legal team, while some systems also make it easier to distribute assets. These capabilities can be integrated into the main platform or be offered as an add-on or integration.

Reports and analyzes

Analytics capabilities allow marketers to track the return on investment made in digital media development.


Most DAMs are offered as SaaS and can be accessed from modern browsers on various platforms, but some have developed native apps for mobile or other platforms.

Data storage and security

The majority of DAM vendors have partnered with Amazon Web Services or Google to host their software and customer assets, and therefore depend on the geographic distribution of their partners, regular backups, and adherence to security protocols. However, some players are offering customers a variety of options for data hosting, which is likely to be appreciated by companies operating in markets with strict data governance regulations.


Since a DAM system is meant to be the central “one source of truth” repository for all of a brand’s assets, a key factor for a successful deployment will be whether or not it integrates well with others. tools from your martech stack. Vendors differ significantly in the number and types of integrations they offer. Some are also starting to specialize in serving a specific industry with unique integration needs, such as online retailers.

Explore the platform capabilities of vendors like Acquia, Widen, Cloudinary, MediaValet and more in their entirety MarTech Intelligence Report on digital asset management platforms.

Click here to download!

The benefits of using digital asset management platforms

Digital asset management can play a vital role in your marketing organization, unifying online and offline marketing channels and leading to a more efficient allocation of marketing resources.

The specific benefits of using a digital asset management platform include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Improved communication between internal workers and self-employed / contract workers. Some DAM vendors offer interfaces specifically designed for external creatives to submit their content and collaborate on needed changes and required versioning. The content of the creation / approval process remains accessible only to people
    involved at this point, rather than being made available for deployment before it’s ready.
  • Better distribution of assets to customers, partners or other outsiders. Some DAM providers allow users to create custom “portals” for viewing and downloading by outside entities.
  • More efficient use of existing resources. The added metadata and search capabilities make it easier for marketers to find the right image or other element for a campaign, without spending tedious hours switching between images or watching video after video. It also saves time and resources that are often spent recreating something similar to an existing asset because it could not be found or the user was unaware of its
  • Increased efficiency in the workflow for internal approvals. Many DAM vendors offer, either as part of core functionality or as an add-on, workflow or project management tools, which allow smoother collaboration and seamless movement of an entire asset. throughout an approval process.
  • Speed ​​up the conversion of assets to different sizes, proportions, and file types for different marketing applications. Although a file is uploaded to the DAM system in a particular format, many systems allow automatic or manual cropping or editing within the system, as well as the conversion of the asset to different file sizes or formats as the file progresses. and as they are downloaded or distributed for use.
  • Improved efficiency on the front-end, in creating brand assets, and on the back-end, in distributing these assets to various martech and ad tech systems. Many DAMs integrate with content creation software, such as Adobe’s Creative Cloud, and also connect (through native connectors or APIs) to systems that deliver content directly to the client, such as servers. advertising, marketing automation platforms, or website content management systems.
  • Easier compliance with changing brand standards and license terms. DAMs allow you to set an expiration date for assets so that they are no longer used after the license term for a particular asset has expired. For example, if a contract with a famous spokesperson is not renewed, a DAM may take these assets from circulation so that they are not used beyond the expiration date.

About the Author

Pamela Parker is a Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in collaboration with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to this role at TDM, she served as a Content Manager, Senior Editor, and Feature Editor. Parker is a respected authority on digital marketing, having published and written on the subject since its inception. She is a former editor-in-chief of ClickZ and has also worked on the commercial side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.


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