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Google Drive vs DAM: Which is Right For You?

Do I need Google Drive or DAM?

It’s a question we frequently hear from companies looking to understand the value of a digital asset management system.

With the amount of content being created by marketing teams today, it’s vital to not only secure your assets in the cloud, but do so in a way that can improve efficiency for your entire team. And while Google Drive and DAMs can both technically store your digital assets, their capabilities vary greatly.

To understand if you need Google Drive or a DAM, ask yourself these 4 questions:

  • What types of assets do you have?
  • How many users do you have?
  • What search capabilities do you need?
  • How important is branding?

What types of assets do you have?

I’m mostly storing text files, like documents and spreadsheets
If you tend to store primarily with text files, such as word documents and spreadsheets, Google Drive can be an effective solution. It provides in-app editing, sharing and tracking capabilities that can help teams work effectively.

However, when working with a large number of visual files, like photos, videos and design assets, Google Drive’s library can make it more difficult to find the assets you need. In addition, Google Drive only supports file previews for images and documents, meaning your team needs to download each file to confirm if it’s the correct one.

I’m looking to store photos, videos, documents and more
DAM platforms support numerous file types including images, videos, documents, 3D files, Adobe Creative files and more. Not only that - they also offer full-screen previews for nearly all file types, even InDesign files! No matter what file formats your team works with, a DAM allows your team to easily preview, download, render and share any file of any size.

How many users do you have?

Not too many – we’re just a small team
Google Drive charges for both users and storage space, but if you’re storing a small number of assets for a small team, it can still be a cost-efficient solution. However, if you’re planning to share the library with other departments, the additional user fees can quickly add up.

If all of your users are accessing Google Drive frequently, the associated cost can be justified. Where some organizations run into challenges is when their entire organization (including thousands of employees) needs access, but only uses it once or twice per month. These organizations end up spending thousands of dollars per month on low-usage employees.

We’d like to extend our assets to multiple departments and partners
While most DAM vendors also charge per user, some (like MediaValet) only charge for storage, while including an unlimited number of users. They also provide an unlimited number of user groups and custom permissions. This means that all users, both internal and external, are able to access, view and download the assets they need, without an additional cost. If you’re planning on scaling DAM to other departments or external vendors, such as partners or contractors, a DAM is the ideal solution.

What search capabilities do you need?

Nothing too fancy, just file name and type should work
Google Drive offers basic search filters for end-users, like file type, name and owner, along with in-document search capabilities. While these capabilities work well for text files, such as Word documents, PowerPoints or PDFs, they’re not as effective when searching for an image, video or design variation.

I want to be able to search using keywords, star ratings, categories and more!
For organizations with terabytes of assets including images, videos and creative files, search capabilities beyond just file names are crucial. A DAM allows users to search by color, text within an asset, rating, keywords and your own custom attributes, saving your users a heap of time. Some vendors even offer basic auto-tagging, taking the bulk of the keywording off your plate.

How important is branding?

Not super important, we just want to share files easily
With Google Drive, the interface is standard and limited to Google’s branding. While this may be suitable for internal teams, who are simply using the platform for storage, it doesn’t adhere to the strict brand guidelines that enterprise organizations often require. When collaborating on Google Drive, external users also need to have a Gmail or Google Account, creating an unnecessary hiccup when sharing assets.

Maintaining our brand identity is really important to us!
If you’re looking for a white-labelled solution that maintains your brand identity, a DAM can be altered to meet your brand guidelines. Personalized with your brand colors and logo, as well as a custom URL, your DAM looks and feels like your brand.

If you’re also using this platform to share assets with external users – such as partners, contractors or agencies - advanced DAM features, like Branded Portals, allow users to fully customize microsites with a highlight color, header photo, text and a custom logo. This provides another way to maintain your brand identity while giving end-users the ability to quickly access the files they need.

So, Google Drive or DAM?

Google Drive is often sufficient if you’re a smaller team with a limited number of assets, exclusive to a select few file types. But, if you’re looking for a long-term solution in which your organization’s growth and content creation is fully supported, DAM provides the scalability and functionality your team needs.

Still not sure if you’re ready to upgrade to a DAM? Take our DAM Need Assessment Quiz to see if you need a DAM immediately, in the near future, or not at all.

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. See MediaValet in action today.