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DAM Knowledge

Digital Asset Management Features: The Core Six

Carlie Hill avatar

Carlie Hill

Director of Growth Marketing

6 min read

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As digital asset management systems (DAMS) evolve, so too does their functionality. But, without all the extra bell and whistles – what are the basic functions that a DAM has to offer? In this post, we’re taking it back to the basics and explaining the digital asset management features that make up the core of the DAM system.

DAM functionality seems to be getting more and more muddled. Why? Because companies are feeling the pressure to create more and more content, and creative teams are looking for a platform that can manage the end-to-end content lifecycle, from creation to distribution. This has caused digital asset management vendors to add new features causing an evolution of DAM software from beyond a niche media solution to become a key part of the marketing tech stack.

When we strip it back though, a digital asset management system has 6 crucial features:

What are the 6 Key DAM Features?

1. Organizing

At its core, a digital asset management platform is used to centralize and organize your assets in a single, easy-to-access library where they can be easily found by everyone. But digital asset management is about more than just collecting your assets in one place. It’s about taking advantage of the DAM’s advanced searching, downloading and sharing capabilities to ensure your assets aren’t just stored – they're properly leveraged by employees, agencies and partners to maximize each asset’s potential.

2. Searching

DAM screenshot

Without digital asset management, finding the right asset can take time – even if you know exactly what you’re looking for. But with a DAM system in place, your assets are more easily discoverable.

First and foremost are your keywords: words and phrases used to describe the assets you’re uploading. Similarly, attributes are used to describe other important information about your assets, such as the date created, photographer name and file name. Attributes can be automatically generated or manually added to your asset to make it easier for users to discover your assets.

Another key feature that makes searching stress-free is a clear and concise category structure. This feature makes the library more “browseable”, as it allows you to click through multi-level folders to find the assets you’re looking for. The best DAM systems offer unlimited categories with their subscription and will help you with your initial set up.

MediaValet enables artificial audio and video intelligence to reduce manual effort and automatically populate your asset with metadata spanning common objects, text and color recognition.

3. Downloading

Any assets stored in the DAM are only valuable, of course, if your team can actually use them. A digital asset management system makes it easy and simple to download your digital assets, in the exact file format and resolution you need.

Any user with downloading permission is able to change the format or size of your assets (ie. a rendition - learn the value of these here) on-the-fly (for example, turning a JPG into a PNG). This feature is a lifesaver for companies that have a busy design team that’s often backlogged with requests.

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4. Version Control and History

As soon as a change is made to any images or marketing material, you need to make sure that the correct version of the asset is used going forward. Alternatively, when the wrong changes are made, you need to go back to a previous version. DAMS can also save and track the history of previous versions and revert to an earlier asset at any time.

A DAM system also offers admins the ability to track who is using, sharing and editing content within the system. Additionally, they provide extensive histories for each asset, from viewing to commenting, ensuring you’ll always know who has been interacting with an asset at any given time.

5. Sharing

When collaborating with coworkers, partners or agencies, sharing a couple of low-res photos is not a problem. However, when you’re working on a large PPT deck or a video, sending files over email can becomes an issue. A DAM system allows you to easily share your large files in a variety of ways:

  • Over Email: The most common form of sharing assets is by sending a link to an online gallery or a downloadable zip file within the DAM system. Some DAM vendors offer integrations that allow you to share assets directly from your email system (such as Outlook).
  • Lightboxes: For longer-term projects, many companies turn to the lightboxes function, which allows you to aggregate assets from different categories, into specific project-based folders. Thereafter, it’s easy to share your lightboxes with whoever needs them.
  • Brand Portals: Common use cases we typically see for brand portals include sharing brand guidelines and supporting various campaigns. Brand portals allow users to curate and share collections of assets with internal and external users as a custom-branded online library.

6. Access Control

Even though your assets are all in a central location, you don’t necessarily want everyone to have the same viewing and downloading permissions. A key feature that separates a digital asset management system from other storage systems is its access control structure.

To ensure your assets are only used by the right people at the right time, digital asset management systems allow you to create user groups. These groups have different viewing, uploading, downloading and sharing abilities. This means that your contributors are able to easily upload their content into your system and your users will also have confidence that any assets they are able to access are approved for their use.

That includes both internal and external users. MediaValet allows you to set restrictions and permissions that suit your organization. This ensures that external stakeholders can access, and share, all the assets they need with Branded Portals.

With these key digital asset management features alone, companies worldwide are experiencing cost savings and team efficiency improvements. When an organization integrates their processes and existing platforms with a DAM system amazing things can happen.

As a DAM vendor, MediaValet aims to consistently improve and evolve our offering; we're always adding new features to better your business. We help businesses worldwide to accomplish objectives, find out how we can help you - book a demo here.

MediaValet is a leader in cloud-based digital asset management that helps organizations manage, organize and share their digital assets, improving productivity and increasing ROI.

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