The Truth About Folders: Rethinking Your DAM Organization Strategy with Tags

So in this blog post, we want to explain what tags are, why they’re so beneficial to DAM organization, and why we think they’ll serve you better than the folders you’re probably using right now. Then we’ll end with a quick example of how tags can be used in a real-life scenario.

Sound good? Then let’s dive in and get started!

What Are Tags

Tags are searchable words or phrases that can be immediately assigned to assets inside your DAM. These words can then be typed into your DAM’s search bar. Any files that have been tagged with the words you’ve typed in will automatically appear in your search results.

For example, let’s say I’ve uploaded a new file into CleanPix. It’s a picture of a sailboat docked in the Florida Keys. Once the asset has been added to the CleanPix system, I’m given the chance to tag it. I choose the words “Sailboat,” “Florida Keys,” and “Sunset” as my tags.

Now, let’s say that six weeks go by and I suddenly remembered the sailboat photo and want to include it in a project I’m working on. I simply go back into CleanPix, navigate to the search bar, and type in one of the tags I assigned to the image.

If the results for any single tag are too numerous, I can easily narrow the results down by searching for the additional keywords. In seconds, I’m able to locate the image I need and use it in my project.

The Benefits of Tags

Tags are the ultimate way to organize your DAM system. Here are three reasons why you should abandon the folder approach and adopt tags.

Better Organization

Simply put, tags allow for better organization. With folders, files can be difficult to locate. Especially if your media library numbers in the tens of thousands. You have to dig through each folder hoping that the asset you’re looking for is inside. If it isn’t, you have to search through the next folder, and the next, and the next.

With tags, you simply assign a keyword to each file. Then, when you need to relocate the asset, you just search for that keyword inside your DAM. Every asset that’s been tagged with that keyword will appear allowing you to quickly sift through the results and find the file you’re looking for.

More Efficiency

As described above, tags allow files to be easily searched for and selected. This makes your file relocation efforts much more efficient. Don’t bother with folders. Just navigate to the search bar or tag cloud in your DAM, search for a specific keyword that your file of choice has been tagged with, and then quickly find what you’re looking for. And if you need to narrow down your search criteria even more, you can search for multiple tags at once.

Through our own research, we’ve discovered that DAM software like CleanPix can save teams roughly 15 hours a week. Tags are a big reason why.


Tags sound great, right? But what if you weren’t the one who uploaded and tagged each file inside your DAM? You won’t know what tags to search for and every benefit we just mentioned is rendered useless, right? Not exactly.

You see, tags are completely user-friendly. First off, because tags make assets discoverable, you don’t need to know the exact wording of each tag to find it. For instance, a photo might be tagged with “New York,” “Sunset,” and “Park.” But you only need to type in one of these phrases to find your specific file in the search results.

Second, inside CleanPix, users can see a complete list of tags. They can then click on as many of these tags as they desire and every photo that’s been tagged with the selected keywords will appear in search results. Pretty simple, right?

The Truth About Folders

Folders have their place. If you only have a few files and don’t need to relocate them that often, folders allow for a neat and tidy storage system. They also have the benefit of being familiar. We all understand how to organize assets inside folders.

But though tags are a bit of a revolutionary concept, they definitely beat folders when it comes to DAM organization. As mentioned earlier, they’ll allow you to locate your files quicker — even if you’re brand new to DAM and didn’t organize the system yourself.

Tags in Action

Now that we have a firm understanding of tags and why they’re so beneficial, let’s take a look at how they can be used in a real-life situation.

Meet Marcy, the PR director for a U.S. based chain of budget hotels. She’s also in charge of managing and updating her company’s DAM system. Fortunately, Marcy started using tags a while back so relocating specific images is easy.

For example, last week Marcy was working on a press release to announce the grand opening of a new hotel in Kansas City, MO. She wanted to include an exterior image of the building for maximum impact. But Marcy’s asset library is 100,000 files strong. Without tags, finding the right picture would literally be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

But instead of digging through folder after folder for hours, Marcy simply typed in “Kansas City,” “Exterior,” and “Day” into the search bar. Immediately she found what she was looking for: an exterior image of her company’s new hotel in Kansas City, MO shot during the daytime hours.

Ready For Tags?

There you have it. You now know what tags are, why they’re beneficial, and how to use them. If you’re ready to dump the folder system and organize your DAM in the most efficient way possible, we encourage you to get in touch with us as CleanPix runs completely on tags.

Our team is standing by to further explain the benefits of tags and assist you in setting up your DAM if need be. Just give us a call at 587-323-1861 or email us at We look forward to hearing from you!

– Jacob Thomas

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