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DAM Best Practices

Managing File Formats and Asset Templates with Digital Asset Management

Ben Owen

By Ben Owen | May 10, 2022

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Have you ever gone to Instagram, YouTube, your website’s Content Management System (CMS), or another platform and uploaded an exciting piece of content, only to receive an error message that the image is too large or the video uses too much storage? If so, you probably had to duplicate the file in a different format before you could upload it successfully.

In today’s omnichannel marketing and creative landscape, creative digital assets are deployed across many different platforms. Since each platform requires different file formats, this means that the same asset is duplicated many times over its life cycle.

In organizations without a digital asset management (DAM) system, assets are routinely saved on hard drives. These drives are often chaotic, cluttered, and difficult to search. This means that when an asset is needed for a particular platform, it usually can’t be found in the correct format and has to be reformatted before it can be uploaded. Since it’s difficult to find the right asset in the first place, content performance suffers when ill-suited assets are used on a website or on social media because users can’t find appropriate ones.

How DAM Solves the Asset Formatting Issue

The goal of DAM systems, and the processes and people that create the programs around them, is to solve issues like these. The rest of this article outlines a set of DAM principles, processes, platform features, and team member roles that can help your organization efficiently manage a wide variety of file formats across various channels.

  • Effective Metadata - The first step towards calming the chaos of managing digital assets in various file formats is to apply effective metadata to them. Metadata, in the context of DAM programs, is data about assets. This includes the folder they’re in, the name of each file, its size, format, type, keyword tags, description, and more. Having all this information organized and applied to assets in a DAM system allows end-users to quickly and easily find the perfect asset for their needs. It also allows your team to find and manage the same asset in different formats without having to remember where each one should be used.
  • Upload & Download Procedures - Once metadata standards have been established and documented for your team to reference, you can create and record the procedures for uploading and downloading digital assets into your DAM system. These processes ensure that assets are put in the right place, are accessible to the teams that need them, have proper metadata attached, and are secure upon download. They relate to the enrichment, approval, permissions, and organization of all your assets.
  • Asset Templates - Many DAM platforms have feature sets dedicated to managing file formats and minimizing clutter. One of the most important of these is asset templates. These templates can be built by your team or DAM consultants based on your organization’s brand guidelines and the channels it uses. They enable end-users to download a file in a variety of formats without creating new versions of the file. This maintains brand consistency and also ensures that files are placed on channels in the correct format without creating clutter in the DAM.
  • Integrations & “Headless” Capabilities - Another feature set of DAM platforms is integrations with other platforms and systems like CMS, PIM (Product Information Management), and MRM (Marketing Resource Management) platforms. These integrations allow end-users to access the DAM library directly from the user interface of these platforms, ensuring assets are consistent and readily available in all relevant formats. This allows end-users to self-serve the exact format of the desired on-brand asset they need rather than re-format it themselves.
  • DAM Managers & Governance Boards - The final, and perhaps most important, component of file format management within a DAM program is the establishment of DAM management roles and the assignment of the responsibilities of DAM management and governance. The person or group managing the DAM program is tasked with enforcing standards and procedures around metadata, upload, and download procedures, training users on features of the DAM system like asset templates, and ensuring that the system is integrated with other relevant systems. This is a vital role since these initiatives require dedicated time and expertise to implement effectively.


As the marketplace continues to offer more and more relevant channels for your organization to place content within, ensuring that it has the tools, processes, and people in place to properly manage the digital asset file formats required by each channel is vital. If you need someone with expertise and experience to lead the establishment of processes, standards, and roles as it relates to digital asset management at your organization, contact Stacks! Our team of DAM experts is happy to help.

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