What is Digital Asset Management (DAM) | Veritent

What is Digital Asset Management?

How Veritent is bringing new meaning to digital asset management

Posted by Ryan Mottershead on 21st January 2020

6 minute read

Photo by fauxels on Pexels

Marketing in the modern world

Since the introduction of mobile devices, wireless internet access, and social media, the world has become a more connected place. We see this every day – when was the last time you left the house without your phone? Or found yourself absentmindedly scrolling through Instagram?

The integration of these technologies in everyday life has created a golden opportunity for companies to target specific messages directly into the eyeballs of a potential customer. This has shifted the whole industry away from cold calling and hard selling to an inbound approach. This is all about creating relevant content to attract, engage, and delight an audience. You can learn more about inbound marketing here.

Countless companies have sprung up to help create content. This includes everything from the creation of images, videos, and logos, all the way through to emerging tech like VR, AR and MR. This has drastically reduced the price of content, starting an arms race for companies to create high volumes of quality content to make sure they stand out from the competition.

Pitfalls of mass content creation

This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of people involved in the content creation process. Situations often occur where a single piece of content gets passed around multiple team members to add their bit, before eventually being used in communications. This works great when one central person/manager is running the show, but when there are multiple projects on the go, for multiple clients, involving several teams – things get messy.

Endless email chains, seemingly thousands of revisions, duplicate files – any of this sound familiar?

When working with multiple people it’s ever so easy for an outdated or wrong version of a file to be used. Or graphics and images intended for Project A end up being used on Project B. This can not only screw up the content plan and the consistency of communication but also breach the licence on the source content.

With source media flying in from all angles, keeping track of where it’s all from and how it should be used becomes a managerial nightmare. That’s where a Digital Asset Management System comes in.

What is Digital Asset Management

Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a system which collates digital media in one place and allows different levels of access by multiple parties, all while being controlled by a manager or controller.

The big benefit of a DAM is that digital media can be pulled from existing sources and collated into one location. Meaning if you have a poorly structured database full of media, cloud storage for everyday files, and a CMS system for distribution, a DAM system can pull all of that data into a single media library so it can be easily searched to find the right file.

To make things even easier, the best DAM systems use visual tagging technology to automatically analyse each piece of content and tag them with words you may search for as well as categorising them by use – pretty handy right?

Tagging forms part of the metadata of an asset. Metadata is essentially data about data – it provides information about the file in question. An example of metadata which you’ll be well aware of if you’ve ever had the “storage almost full” message pop up on your phone, is the size of a file. But metadata can be anything from the title, date it was created, the rights holder, or even licence terms.

A centralised location for digital assets

Having media in one place makes it far easier for teams to access files and collaborate on projects in the knowledge they are using the right content, in the right way. Managers of a DAM can grant access to different team members based on their needs, as well as putting restrictions on different types of content – such as internal, confidential, or public. This gives managers control over what content is used by each team member, ensuring that a file isn’t used when it shouldn’t be, avoiding a potentially hefty fine for the company, or even worse a client.

More sophisticated DAM systems allow for multiple people to work on the same file at once, logging and merging changes into a single file, with revision history to restore if needed. Using a DAM system takes away that uncertainty of content production by putting everything into one location, always ensuring the right files are being used on a project by the right people.

Completed content can be distributed or published directly to the end client without the need for exporting out a DAM. This adds an extra level of security to potentially sensitive content, as well as providing specific analytics on content performance in the place it has been published.

What’s lacking in Digital Asset Management

DAM systems are great, they pull everything into one location and make it easy for multiple people to work on a project in a controlled way. But…

There are two key problems of content creation which aren’t addressed by the existing DAM systems:

  1. How do you know where a source file has come from? Unless the licence is in the metadata, there is no way of knowing if and where an image can be used.
  2. Once published or shared, how do you measure the true impact of your content across the internet? You don’t know if someone is taking your content and using it as if it were their own.

Minefield of licences

When using any content online, it’s incredibly important to know where it’s come from and how you’re allowed to use it. Commercially using any form of content without a valid licence is more than likely going to land you with an invoice.

If you refuse to pay, the content owner is well within their rights to take it to court, where the law will (in most cases) side with the claimant. That’s a long drawn-out process which no one wants – so you’ll pretty much be forced to pay up, and this could be thousands. It could also have a knock-on effect on your brand reputation or as an agency, impacting the potential of future work.

This could come from the most innocent of actions like taking an image from Google, or thinking “we worked with them before so they’ll be okay with it”. Or it could stem from a lack of understanding of licencing – purchasing a licence for a specific use, then using the content in another way.

These things can all be managed on a micro level and with experience, but when working with a potentially inexperienced team and high content flow, it becomes an uphill battle to check and verify the licence on every bit of content used.

Endless sharing potential

The beauty of the internet and the reason for the explosive growth of digital marketing is that content is not static. Content is shared and reposted hundreds of millions of times a day, all around the world.

Depending on how you look at it, this can be seen as a good or a bad thing. It’s easy to measure the impact and exposure of a piece of content in the place where it was posted, but tracking that content across the internet and analysing every place it’s shared – that’s not so easy.

Data on the full impact content is having is locked up by not being able to efficiently track where and how content is being used across this internet. This could mean you’re losing out on insightful analytics for business decisions, losing brand value from image misuse, or missing out on new business opportunities. Not being able to access all of the information available puts you at a disadvantage and will soon find yourself falling behind the competition.

What Veritent Offers

Veritent combines digital asset management with licence checking and automated image tracking.

By providing an end to end service we ensure consistency through the whole content creation process while providing extended data and insights once content has been published.

Through a fully integrated system, Veritent provides three core services:

  1. Image Licence Check – find and purchase the licence of any image and monitor that image use within your organisation to ensure it’s used correctly.
  2. Digital Asset Management – link all of the places you store content and access them in one central location. Easily collaborate with team members and get rid of duplicates.
  3. Automated Image Tracking – monitor how your images are used online and be instantly alerted when they’re used in a way they shouldn’t be. Access data previously unavailable to have a wider picture of your image use.

Click here to learn about the full range of services Veritent offers.

The scale and level of integration of a DAM will be different for every company, but there can be no doubt that a DAM system is an essential tool of any marketing team who create content or have high-value digital assets.

Check out what Veritent has to offer and get in touch using by clicking the button below 👇

Ryan is the ambitious and passionate Founder of Veritent, driving change in the way images are managed in the online environment.

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