DAM vs. Dropbox: Which is right for you?

30 Jun


Written by

Bella Foxwell




DAM vs. Dropbox: Which is right for you?
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As content creation continues to grow rapidly, many organizations reach the limitations of existing file-sharing tools like Dropbox.

For those actively scaling up content production, the time comes for a more sophisticated solution that effectively manages thousands of digital assets without adversely impacting productivity, brand integrity and customer satisfaction. A solution like Digital Asset Management (DAM).

So, how exactly do tools like Dropbox and DAM differ and when should brands make the switch from one to the other?

Let’s take a closer look at their features and capabilities to help you decide which is right for you.

1. What is Dropbox?

2. What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

3. Dropbox vs. DAM: Key differences

- Assets

- Storage



4. Why organizations migrate from Dropbox to DAM

What is Dropbox? 

Founded in 2007, Dropbox remains a popular file-sharing and storage tool to this day. It’s easy to use and affordable, which makes it a hit with individuals and small businesses alike. 

Some of its features include:

  • Asset management — you can create and edit (Microsoft) files 
  • File sharing — share files easily from phone, computer or tablet
  • Integrations — connect to other tools including Zoom and Slack
  • Enhanced security — control access with password protection, expiring links and download permissions

Many organizations enjoy using Dropbox but for bigger teams and growing businesses, there is a more suitable alternative. 

What is Digital Asset Management (DAM)?

A DAM system is a scalable storage hub that acts as a centralized library for all marketing, corporate and product assets.

It not only provides storage — it also enables the organization, collaboration and distribution of hundreds of different content formats from images to 3D video.

By making light work of the incredibly time-consuming process of managing large creative assets, companies are freed up to focus on value-producing activities that create a positive customer experience and boost business revenue.

That’s the fundamental difference between Dropbox and DAM.

One (Dropbox) is a very useful tool to add to your techstack. The other (DAM) integrates with your organization’s entire ecosystem, seamlessly connecting digital assets to existing tools and teams to increase efficiency and gain the edge necessary to outperform the competition.

Dropbox vs. DAM: Key differences

Now that we've covered the overarching difference between Dropbox and DAM, let’s take a closer look at how both solutions differ in scope and functionality.  

DAM vs. Dropbox: Assets

A robust DAM system is designed to handle rich media assets like 360° photos and videos, 3D file formats, audio files as well as images and documents.

It not only manages these formats natively, but also adapts quickly to support the more immersive formats of tomorrow. For example, augmented reality content and interactive video to name just two.

Not all DAM solutions support all kinds of files, so you’ll need to be clear on which ones your organization works with on a daily basis before you embark on migrating. However, in most cases, a DAM solution is going to support a much bigger variety of asset formats and sizes than Dropbox. 

Another key difference between DAM and Dropbox when it comes to assets is formatting. With Dropbox, you’re limited to uploading and downloading assets as they are — it’s not possible to change their format directly within Dropbox.

With a DAM solution, however, you can convert files to any size, quality or format you need. More than 300 formats can be rendered in hundreds of variations, and there are dynamic templates available that can be modified by local marketers. This makes a huge difference to organizations that need to respond to the challenges of consistently managing and delivering personalized content across all channels and formats, at scale. 

DAM vs. Dropbox: Storage 

Many DAM solutions, like Wedia, offer unlimited storage. This is a major advantage for organizations that need to store, edit, and distribute thousands of pieces of content every single month. The last thing they want to be dealing with is storage issues.

With a file sharing tool like Dropbox, the amount of storage available depends on the plan. The most advanced plan, Dropbox Business, offers 5,000 GB of storage for £14.50 / user / month (three users minimum). 

For small-to-medium sized businesses that don’t need vast amounts of storage, this is enough. However, for organizations actively growing and scaling up content creation and distribution, a DAM solution would be a more appropriate and economical option.

DAM vs. Dropbox: Organization

While both Dropbox and DAM systems have search functionality, one is undoubtedly more sophisticated than the other. 

Dropbox has a simple file structure that allows you to search for folder names and file titles. Unless you’ve been very organized and used clear naming conventions for assets, trying to find specific pieces of content (like “blue trainers with green laces and pink heels”) will be a challenge. 

A Digital Asset Management solution, on the other hand, uses a more sophisticated system of tagging and cataloging to make it easy to search for the right asset when you need it. 

According to a recent report, marketers and creatives spend 91 hours each week searching for assets and almost half believe their company wastes funds producing new assets that go unused because people don't know they exist or can’t find them.

This problem is overcome with solid DAM taxonomy. 

Not only can users input specific information like color, brand and size onto every file, but the system can also extract metadata contained within documents and images quickly and efficiently. Now when someone searches for “blue trainers with green laces and pink heels”, they’ll be shown all assets that contain this product. 

Another benefit of a DAM solution like Wedia is its Artificial Intelligence (AI) indexing capabilities. AI filters allow users to search by “people” (media files with or without people in them), “age” (babies, children, adults, seniors) and “situation” of the asset – whether it was taken indoors or outdoors.

DAM vs. Dropbox: Workflow

The final key difference to consider between Dropbox and DAM is how flexible, or not, workflows and permissions are.

Dropbox works well for sharing assets internally. Some of the tools for internal collaboration include real-time editing and @mention tagging. However, things get a little trickier when it comes to sharing assets with external parties.

Everytime you share a link to a file or folder in Dropbox, you’ll need to set the permissions for that link e.g. view only or edit. And there are limitations on link-sharing — depending on the plan you have, there are caps on the size of files that can be shared and how long they stay active.

DAM systems, however, are designed for content distribution and so users get much more control over setting the exact permissions they want. They can also set up workflows to streamline collaboration and ensure the right people have access to edit, review, and sign off assets at all the various stages of the content creation process. 

This saves a huge amount of time wasted on sharing (and re-sharing) links to content. And by making it easier (and faster) for departments like legal to approve content, global marketing campaigns are no longer held up by slow approval processes and compliance issues. 

Last but not least, a DAM system provides a solid version history. It’s easy for teams to locate the latest assets and review all the changes that have been to date. 

Why organizations migrate from Dropbox to DAM

While Dropbox is a great tool for small teams sharing a limited number of files each month, it isn’t suitable for growing brands that need to manage and distribute content at scale.

In that instance, DAM is the better choice.

If any of the following apply to you, it might be time to make the switch:

  • You want to improve organizational efficiency 
  • You have thousands of files you need to access easily
  • You work with multiple teams, partners, resellers, franchisees, dealers and more spread around the world
  • You want a way to distribute content quickly and securely
  • You need a solution that helps deliver hyper-personalized customer experiences (not one that just offers more storage)

Once you do, these are the benefits that you’ll enjoy alongside brands like Decathlon and Volvo:

  • Increased productivity — DAM is a much more efficient way to manage assets. Version control, real-time edits, and automated workflow approvals save huge amounts of time on manual tasks
  • Enhanced brand consistency — By controlling how assets are locally customized and providing an easier way to organize and find content, companies can deliver consistent brand experiences to customers worldwide
  • Hyper-personalized content — Freed up from time-consuming manual tasks, teams can focus instead on A/B testing, making data-based decisions faster, and tweaking marketing campaigns based on performance
  • Accelerated global marketing campaigns — Approval workflows can be set up to involve legal, risk and compliance managers in the content validation process, speeding up time to market
  • Improved performance — Organizations can create and save custom dashboards, and compare content performance of digital media and content across different channels, categories, geographies and audience segments.
  • Better ROI — DAM increases a company’s ROI (Return on Investment) by streamlining review cycles, eliminating the need for manual and time-consuming tasks, and cutting operational costs

Ready to explore the benefits of DAM? 

Have you reached the limitations of your existing file-sharing tools?

Book a free demo today and explore how DAM can enhance your customers’ experiences and boost business revenue.

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