Digital Asset Management and The Importance of Metadata and File Tags


One of the main features setting DAM services apart from other file management systems is the robust metadata and tagging features built into their software.

In this post we’ll explore how metadata and file tags make your job as a marketing professional easier, specific ways you can use them immediately to improve your file organization and retrieval process, and a couple ways both can be used inside CleanPix.

Metadata: A Definition

The term “metadata” sounds fancy and professional, but what does it actually mean? According to the almighty Google, metadata can be defined as:

“A set of data that describes and gives information about other data.”

Still confused? Let’s simplify it further…

In layman’s terms, metadata is just extra detail about a specific file. For example, when you take a picture with your smartphone, the date and time of the photograph is automatically recorded and embedded into the file. This is metadata.

Other types of metadata can include the file size and type, who created the file, the purpose for the files creation, and more.

Ultimately, metadata is what turns a file into a company asset. After all, you can’t use what you can’t find. And metadata (along with tags, which we’ll talk about next) help you find files.

Tag Your Assets for Quick Retrieval

You can think of tags as keywords for your files: specific words or phrases that, when searched for, yield specific results.

Just like you include keywords in your content marketing efforts and Google Adwords campaigns to show up in certain user’s search results, DAMs also use searchable keywords to help find assets quicker and organize files. These keywords are known as tags.

As an example, your company’s latest marketing video can be tagged with the terms, “video”, “marketing”, “2018”, and more. Whenever any of those terms are searched for inside your DAM, the marketing video in question will appear among the results.

The Convenience of DAM Metadata and Tagging Features

The value of robust metadata and tagging features inside a DAM service should be pretty clear: quick and painless retrieval of important digital assets!

Rather than manually searching through thousands of files in order to find the exact one you’re looking for, you can quickly search for a specific tag, date, file creator, etc., and narrow down your search to only the files containing such information.

This is especially useful for large marketing teams. If Sally organized your company’s DAM, Rob doesn’t have to memorize the exact taxonomy of where each file should be located. Instead, he just searches for terms related to the file in question and easily sifts through the results.

How to Use Metadata and Tagging to Your Advantage

So, can we agree that the presence of metadata and tagging capabilities inside a DAM makes them quite a powerful tool? Great! Now let’s discuss a few ways your company can better use these features to its advantage:

Tags and Metadata

  1. When choosing which keywords to add to a file, consider using a “who, what, when, where, why” approach. Meaning, include who created the file, what the file is, when and where it was made, and why it exists.
  2. Try to avoid using words in your tags that have multiple meanings such as “cool”. Team members searching for files may be confused as to whether you mean “cool as in temperature or “cool” as in neat.
  3. Use abbreviations consistently. For example, if one file uses the term “FB” to group together assets related to Facebook, make sure all related files use this same abbreviation.

File Structure

While not exclusively related to metadata and tags, we want to take a quick moment to also mention the importance of having an intuitive file structure as this will also assist in the quick retrieval if your company’s assets.

  1. Group your folders by category, date, etc., and keep the hierarchy consistent. For example, if the top folder specifies the date that each file within was created, and the following folders classify the category of each file, don’t reverse this hierarchy.
  2. Do not use tags in your folder or collection names. This will only overpopulate your tag searches and make it harder to find specific files. Instead, give your folders unique names that will still allow you to quickly understand what each contains.

Read our full blog post for more information on better organizing your files.

Exploring the Metadata and Tagging Features Inside CleanPix

The metadata and tagging features inside CleanPix can be used to your company’s advantage in many different ways. We’ll focus on a couple of them here:

Digital Rights Management

Digital rights management isn’t exciting, but it is incredibly important for your organization — especially if you use licensed photographs, graphics or other pieces of art in your marketing efforts. If the proper care and attention isn’t given to acknowledging the creators of these works, your company could be liable to hefty fines and expensive lawsuits.

Fortunately, CleanPix makes digital rights management easy through the intelligent and convenient use of metadata!

When a new file is uploaded into your CleanPix account, you’ll be given the opportunity to assign metadata. Our service then automatically embeds this information into the asset so that, no matter where the file ends up, the creator is given their due credit.

CleanPix Galleries

Tags can be used internally by your marketing team to find specific files. Simply assign the appropriate tags to each file in your media library and then search for it when the file in question needs to be retrieved.

But tags can also be used externally through a feature we call galleries.

Galleries are public-facing media libraries that can be viewed by users outside your organization, such as media personnel. These users can then self-service their own asset needs by requesting access to specific files in your library.

The tags you assign to each file can also be searched for inside your public-facing galleries so that your users can quickly find the assets they need!

In Conclusion

Metadata and tags are powerful features inside DAM services that make them much more convenient than other file organization systems. They can also save users quite a bit of time when attempting to retrieve specific assets.

For more information on how robust metadata and tagging features can help your marketing team get more done in less time, or to see firsthand how the features work inside CleanPix, please get in contact with our team!

– Jacob Thomas

Contact & Support

Interested in pricing or just want to talk to a human? We would love to hear from you!




Support: 1-866-266-1861
Office: 1-403-266-1861

Mailing address

2225 15 ST SE
Calgary, Alberta
T2G 3M3 Canada

Office location

Start your 30 day trial