By Lars Lofgren
Digital asset management (DAM) software is a single source for organizing, sharing, tracking, and distributing all of a company’s digital assets.
A digital asset can be defined as any document, image, video, audio file, visual, animation, or any other piece of media content. This software is commonly used to manage marketing materials and different types of creative files.
DAM software allows you to assign metadata to each asset containing a unique description, making it easier to search and filter files at scale.
Without digital asset management software, organizations and teams need to use multiple platforms to manage their digital assets. Using a traditional cloud storage platform might be fine for a dozen assets, but it quickly becomes difficult to achieve with quantities in the hundreds or thousands.
DAM software improves access to digital assets, keeps them secure, and allows you to manage the complete lifecycle of your digital assets—from creation to archive.
The Top 8 Best Digital Asset Management Software
- Adobe Experience Manager Assets
- Extensis Portfolio
- CoSchedule Asset Organizer
There are eight digital asset management tools that I can confidently recommend. Use this guide to find more information about the features, benefits, prices, use cases, and potential drawbacks of each one.
#1 – Canto — Best Overall Digital Asset Management (DAM) Software
• Automatically organize by file type
• Advanced search and filter
• Custom sharing capabilities
• Digital rights management
• Start free trial
Canto is our top pick for DAM software. Founded 25+ years ago, Canto is a pioneer in the digital asset management industry. Over the years, they’ve quickly adapted to the times and changing needs of their customers.
The software is used by 2,500+ businesses, including Ralph Lauren, NASA, American Red Cross, Harvard University, United Airlines, and more.
Add digital assets to folders, albums, or smart albums that automatically organize files by asset type, such as image, video, document, presentation, and other types of file formats.
Some of the top features and benefits of Canto include:
- Simple default search
- Advanced search tools
- Facial recognition
- Custom shared libraries
- Sharing links
- Expiring share links (for time-sensitive content)
- Advanced download options
- Visual previews
- Branding tools
- User permissions
- Collaboration tools
- Security features
The list goes on and on. Overall, Canto has everything you could possibly need in software for digital asset management.
Canto integrates with a wide range of tools and platforms that you’re already using, like Slack LinkedIn, WordPress, Google Drive, MailChimp, and more.
This DAM software is highly secure as well. It runs on AWS, which is one of the fastest and most flexible cloud systems on the market today. You can set custom permissions and easily apply digital rights management to protect your assets.
Pricing is not available online. Request a custom quote and start your free trial.
#2 – Brandfolder — Best Easy-to-Use Digital Asset Management
• Asset performance insights
• Industry and role-based solutions
• Privacy controls
• Branding tools
• Request free demo
Brandfolder is another top-rated DAM software. It’s used by startups, Fortune 500s, and everything in between.
For such a feature-rich software, Brandfolder stands out from the crowd due to its simplicity. You don’t need to be super tech-savvy to navigate around and use this enterprise-grade tool.
The software has a feature called Brand Intelligence, which uses AI and machine learning to identify your top-performing content, tell you who is using your assets, and how they’re being used.
With Brandfolder, you can easily distribute assets, collections of assets, and even an entire folder of assets using privacy controls, CDN embed links, and user-specific permissions.
I like Brandfolder because the software offers specific solutions for various use-cases. They offer DAM software for different industries, such as:
- Food and beverage
You can also get a role-based version of Brandfolder, for categories like marketers, CMOs, creatives, brand managers, and creative operations.
If you’re using Brandfolder, you can rest assured knowing that your files are safe and secure in this cloud-based central source of truth for your digital assets.
Request a custom quote and schedule a demo to get started.
#3 – Adobe Experience Manager Assets — Best For Advanced Users
• Robust and feature-rich
• Advanced automations
• Supports VR and AR files
• Supports 3D and panoramic files
• Get started today
Any time you’re getting software from Adobe, you know that you’re in good hands. Adobe Experience Manager assets is no exception; the software is robust and feature-rich.
This cloud-native DAM software helps organizations manage thousands of digital assets at scale.
The asset automation here is second to none. You’ll benefit AI that automatically tags files, crops images, distributes assets, and more. Adobe’s automated tools for asset management perform tasks in minutes that would normally take hours.
Top features of Adobe Experience Manager Assets include:
- Asset check-out
- Asset collections
- Asset insights
- Brand portal tools
- Advanced file type support, including 3D, panoramic, VR, and AR
- File version history
- Multilingual asset management
Adobe Experience Manager Assets is not for beginners. Some of the advanced features require some technical knowledge to use and understand. So if you’re just looking for basic file storage and sharing capabilities, you’ll probably find this software confusing.
With that said, Adobe Experience Manager Assets is a tech lover’s dream. You’ll be able to manage the complete lifecycle of your assets and benefit from advanced insights on asset performance.
Request a quote to learn more and get started.
#4 – IntelligenceBank — Best DAM Software For Creative Collaboration
• Built for content marketers
• Collaborate with internal and external teams
• Seamless integrations
• Branding and marketing tools
• Request a quote
IntelligenceBank is a digital asset management solution for content marketing. The software helps businesses create, manage, share, and distribute digital assets.
In addition to providing creative professionals with a central location for digital files, you’ll also benefit from metadata tagging with AI technology from the same platform.
Log in with SSO and access the platform directly from platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Adobe Creative Cloud, and hundreds more. Leverage pre-configured workflow integrations with technology like Slack, Asana, Facebook, Dropbox, Shopify, and anything else you’re using.
With IntelligenceBank, you can upload any type of file from any source. The software makes it easy to manage the usage and talent rights of your assets. It supports bulk uploads, comments, version controls, multiple image views, previews, alerts, watermarks, and much more.
Top features of IntelligenceBank include:
- Public link tracking and analytics
- Image conversion
- Creative collaboration tools with internal and external teams
- Auto keyword tagging
- Advanced search and global filters
- Video transformation
- Custom branding
- Secure hosting and daily backups
- Custom storage configuration
In addition to DAM software, IntelligenceBank has plans and packages for branding and marketing operations. You’ll need to request a quote from the sales team to learn more.
It’s worth noting that all features don’t come standard out of the box. IntelligenceBank has optional services and add-ons for things like SSO, two-factor authentication, creative templates, and more.
#5 – Cloudinary — Best Free Digital Asset Management Software
• Free for basic use
• Paid plans start at $89
• Suitable for individual users
• Built to scale
• Start for free
Cloudinary is trusted by 6,000+ businesses and 600,000+ developers. Petco, Whole Foods, Peloton, Under Armor, Lyft, and Sony are just a handful of well-known brands that use this software.
While most DAM software is built for enterprises out of the box, Cloudinary has plans for individual users, developers, small businesses, and small teams.
Cloudinary comes standard with basic DAM features like file storage, image manipulation, image optimization, video APIs, collaboration tools, integrations, and more.
Here’s a quick look at the Cloudinary plans and pricing:
- Free — $0
- Plus — $89 per month
- Advanced — $224 per month
- Custom — Request a quote
The Free and Plus plans both have a single user limit. So it’s not ideal for managing assets at scale. The Advanced plan supports up to five users. For larger teams, you’ll need a custom solution.
Cloudinary’s plans are a bit confusing. Depending on your tier, you’ll get a certain number of monthly credits, which go towards things like file transformations, storage, or net viewing bandwidth. So there will be some limitations, but the trade-off is cheap pricing.
#6 – Extensis Portfolio — Best DAM Software For Content Creators
Visit Extensis Portfolio
• Supports multiple file types
• Easy to share media assets
• Automated workflows
• Plans for all team sizes
• Get started
Extensis Portfolio is a single tool for digital asset management and brand asset management. It’s a central source for your images, videos, audio files, documents, and more.
The software is perfect for managing content across multiple brands, projects, or clients, which is why it’s such a popular choice for content creators. Ultimately, Extensis Portfolio will help you save time and make your life easier in terms of organizing and sharing media assets at scale.
Some of the top features and benefits of Extensis Portfolio include:
- Automatic keyword tagging
- Fast and easy uploads
- Robust search tools
- Automated workflows
- Drag and drop files
- Share assets with web builder
- Flexible deployment
- Supports multiple files including large satellite and aerial images
Extensis Portfolio has solutions that fit the needs of individuals, small teams, businesses, and enterprises.
#7 – CoSchedule Asset Organizer — Best For Marketing Teams
• Comes with marketing suite
• Secure file sharing
• Custom taxonomies
• 14 day free trial
• Start for free
CoSchedule Asset Organizer is one of five products in the CoSchedule Marketing Suite. In addition to DAM software, you’ll also get tools for organizing content, managing your marketing calendar, and more.
The platform makes it easy for marketing teams to store, index, and share digital content.
Highlights of this software include:
- File storage with custom taxonomies
- Cross-department file sharing
- Built-in version controls
- Tools to avoid duplicate content
- Secure file sharing
Unfortunately, the CoSchedule Asset Organizer can’t be purchased on its own—you’ll need to get the entire CoSchedule Marketing Suite. The upside of this is that you’ll have lots of other tools at your disposal. But the drawback is that you might be paying extra for tools you don’t need.
So I’d only recommend this software to marketing teams. You can try it free for 14 days before you get started.
#8 – Widen — Best DAM Software For Midsize Organizations
• Enterprise-grade security
• Auto file tagging
• File conversions
• Asset rights management
• Request a demo
Widen DAM is a cloud-based software for SMEs. The solution is ideal for managing assets at scale.
For an enterprise-grade solution, the software is actually fairly easy to use. Widen has been around for 70+ years. But you wouldn’t know it by using this solution. The interface has a clean and modern dashboard that allows you to manage the complete lifecycle for all assets.
Some of the top features and benefits of the Widen DAM include:
- Enterprise-grade security
- Asset rights management
- File conversions
- Embed codes and sharing links
- Asset analytics
- Full previews
- Automatic tagging
- Version controls
- Full previews
- Faceted search
- User roles and permissions
- Global CDN
- Custom notifications
In addition to DAM software, Widen offers solutions for brand management, market resource management, and product information management.
For larger organizations with hundreds or thousands of complex digital assets, Widen DAM will be a top choice to consider.
To get started, you’ll have to request a demo. A Widen representative will take the time to understand your business needs during a 30-minute call before providing you with a custom demo for your team.
How to Find the Best Digital Asset Management Software For You
Finding the best digital asset management software for your business can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. Everyone has unique needs when it comes to managing digital assets.
To make things easier, I’ve identified the top factors that need to be taken into consideration while you’re shopping around. This is the methodology that I used to choose the top DAM software on the market today.
Asset management, in general, is a broad term. But what exactly are you planning to do with those assets? There are different types of asset management software that accommodate varying needs and use cases. Here are some DAM categories:
- Asset management for marketing and sales material (logos, product images, etc.)
- Store and retrieve large quantities of media assets that don’t change
- Store and organize assets that are changing frequently
- Distribute digital assets to clients, third-parties, or digital retailers
Within each category, there are certain features that you’d need. For example, if you just want a place to store your files, a feature for content rights management isn’t really necessary for you. But this will be a top feature for businesses distributing digital assets to third-parties.
If you’re going to be changing assets and collaborating with team members, look for DAM software that allows you to edit, convert, and make changes directly within the platform.
Not every DAM software supports every single file type.
For the most part, image files, video files, audio files, and basic documents are easy to accommodate on every platform. But some businesses have complex files, such as augmented reality files, virtual reality files, 3D files, panoramic files, and more.
Make sure the solution you choose can support the assets you currently have as well as the assets you plan to create moving forward.
Certain digital asset management software is designed for use-case specific solutions.
For example, there is DAM software for marketing teams. There are other DAM solutions for content creators and others for creative collaboration. There are solutions for individual users, developers, small business owners, and more.
It’s always in your best interest to find digital asset management software that appeals to the ultimate end-user. While many solutions on our list can be customized to fit your needs, it should be fairly obvious who the target market for each platform is. If you’re unsure, just refer to the reviews in this guide.
A small team of content creators or a solo developer won’t have the same needs as a mid-sized enterprise.
Most DAM software is considered to be enterprise-grade. But with that said, there are definitely solutions for smaller teams. In fact, you can even find free DAM software for single users.
What’s the best digital asset management software? Canto is our top pick. It appeals to the widest range of users and hits the mark for everything we look for when evaluating DAM software.
With that said, there are plenty of viable alternatives, depending on your business needs.
If you’re looking for something simple, try Brandfolder. Advanced DAM users would be better off with Adobe Experience Manager Assets. For creative collaboration, content creation, and marketing, we recommend IntelligenceBank, Extensis Portfolio, and CoSchedule Asset Organizer. SMEs should consider Widen.
Do you want a free tool for digital asset management? Try Cloudinary.
Regardless of your industry, company size, or asset types, there’s a solution for everyone in this guide.