DAM vs Google Drive: can cloud storage help support digital sobriety?

30 Mar


Written by

Louise McNutt




DAM vs Google Drive: can cloud storage help support digital sobriety?
Dark mode
Dark mode
Switch to light mode
Switch to dark mode

Digital tools and ways of working are showing no sign of slowing down. With new applications, devices and equipment constantly entering the market, corporates and consumers alike are embracing an ever-digital way of operating. 

An essential tool

As consumers desire new, innovative and tailor-made communications across multiple channels, brands must find a way to produce, distribute, store and measure content. 

A cloud solution is now an essential tool in any communication and marketing specialist’s toolkit. A scalable digital storage system, cloud technology provides multi-faceted benefits for businesses, paving the way for remote collaboration, increased efficiency and hybrid ways of working. 

It is predicted that by 2025, the technology sector will consume 20% of the world’s total electricity – an increase from today’s 7% - Greenpeace

Research from Veritas Technologies has shown that 99% of organisations plan on increasing workloads in cloud environments and 98% say that the shift is based on evolving sustainability strategies. 

Indeed, digital technology, if put in place carefully and correctly, can be a means of reducing carbon emissions. 

For example, according to the World Economic Forum: 

“Our assessment, as laid out in the Exponential Climate Action Roadmap, is that digital technologies could already help reduce global carbon emissions by up to 15% – or one-third of the 50% reduction required by 2030 – through solutions in energy, manufacturing, agriculture and land use, buildings, services, transportation and traffic management. This corresponds to more than the current carbon footprints of the EU and the US combined. But it is through the Fourth Industrial Revolution – particularly 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) – that the digital sector can take the pace of change to the next level.”

For this reason, companies too are embracing digital technologies as a way of enhancing their communication strategies and supporting the need by consumers to have varied and interesting content.

World data

Cloud solutions and digital sobriety

The carbon footprint of cloud solutions is an important factor to consider. Take for example the fact that storing

100 gigabytes of data in the cloud for a year, which would give you enough space for several thousand photos or a few hours of videos would require electricity that would generate 0.2 tons of CO2. 

So, whilst cloud storage is a necessary and intelligent choice for many businesses, there are options to consider when choosing and investing in one. 

Here we look at the differences between a Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution and Google Drive storage. 

What is Digital Asset Management? 

DAM offers organisations the ability to store, organise, share and track a multitude of assets including videos, images, audio files, branded materials, templates, legal documents and presentations.

A DAM solution can offer extensive storage space and integration with other software and tools. 

What is Google Drive?

Google Drive provides a file storage service that allows for files to be synchronised and shared across different devices and by different people. 

A free service, Google Drive tends to be used by small companies or individuals looking for basic storage options that can be easily combined with using the G-suite. 

Duplicate content and its environmental implications

As companies look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint, how they operate digitally is also being called into question. The type of storage space that a company chooses to use can help contribute to reducing their digital footprint. 

For example, with DAM, the tool provides ways of streamlining content and as such reducing the volume of assets. 

Duplicate content is one way that storage space can be clogged up. Storing the same photo multiple times or holding on to numerous versions of a document instead of only keeping the final, validated version means weighing down cloud solutions unnecessarily. 

Using Google Drive results in having to search for and delete duplicate content or old versions of documents. Doing this is time consuming and therefore not a foolproof solution to making sure that all duplicates are erased. 

A DAM solution on the other hand has inbuilt cleaning facilities making removing duplicates and unnecessary or obsolete assets a straight-forward affair. 

Detecting duplicates allows you to easily remove them. What’s more, adding an expiration date to assets lets you automatically unpublish or remove certain files from both within the DAM environment and other software such as a Content Management System (CMS). 

Whilst Google does not have such functionality, it is worth noting that the tech giant has an impressive sustainability strategy which covers all areas of its business, with a net-zero goal for 2030. With measures such as machine learning to help cool its data centers, to replenishing the water used in data centers and offices, Google has made a substantial commitment to positive environmental impact. 

Image optimisation to reduce your carbon footprint

A study by the Institution of Engineering and Technology found that the photo storage needed to host all the photos people in Britain take is generating 355,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, the equivalent of each person driving from Lands’ End to John O’Groats every year. 

How we store images is therefore important when we consider the environmental implications of cloud storage. 

Working with Google Drive means being able to store all types of images, documents and files, but as of yet there is no way of intuitively reducing their size depending on how they are shared. When sending files from Google Drive, you can choose to send them as a link or as in a small, medium or large format, helping to reduce the need to send heavy files when it is not necessary. 

A DAM solution can provide a clever means of reducing the carbon impact of images. Through a built-in system, images that are drawn from the DAM platform can be resized depending on where they appear, the kind of site and the type of device they’re being viewed from. As such lower resolution versions, which take up less space can be chosen by the DAM platform, optimising the experience for the customer and reducing the need for unnecessarily large images.

Tools to promote collaboration 

Working in a hybrid way today means having teams in different locations, those remotely and physically as well as a range of collaborators and external stakeholders, like publicity agencies. Juggling the different parties involved in one project can be time consuming and even costly. 

That’s why using cloud solutions is a way of centralising various projects and making sure that everyone is using the same assets and their most recent versions. 

Google Drive works as a basic repository system, different media types can be organised into dedicated folders and users can be given various rights, which include: 

  • Managers
  • Content Managers (the default for new members)
  • Contributors
  • Commentators
  • Viewers

This allows you to control who can modify certain assets and links for a diverse range of files can be sent to various stakeholders, including for example press agencies for them to access your media kit.

A DAM solution takes this one step further. Users have specifically allocated profiles and can view and edit certain materials in line with the permissions that have been set up for them. For example, in a large international company with offices in various locations, teams can be allowed to edit only certain parts of an approved and branded campaign, in order to ensure consistency across the business and multiple languages. 

What’s more, DAM provides a dedicated workflow component which makes working on projects intuitive and helps to streamline different processes. As such, different stakeholders can see the status of the project and be alerted as and when they need to complete a task. This also means that everyone has access to the same version of the project, avoiding the need to have multiple versions of the project saved on the cloud. 

How does tracking analytics help reduce your digital carbon footprint? 

For companies looking to invest in a sustainable digital strategy, understanding the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to the content they are putting out is essential. 

By being able to look at what works and what doesn’t, and more importantly why, companies can fine-tune their communications and produce the most relevant and adapted content for their audience. 

Both Google Drive and DAM allow users to track certain metrics, but what are the differences? 

Google Drive provides analytics but in a fairly limited way. Users can see who has opened and edited files, as well as the sharing history but once those assets leave the Drive, they can no longer be tracked. 

Most DAM systems offer a more advanced means of tracking assets. Working as a SSOT (Single Source of Truth) DAM is able to track content from within the DAM environment, and once it leaves it. 

Users can therefore see:  

  • Where assets have been published and embedded online
  • Which members have used the assets and where they have gone
  • How viewers are interacting with the asset
  • The number of times an asset has been viewed, shared or downloaded

This means building up a detailed picture of your communication and marketing campaigns, across different locations, markets and brands. Having access to such analytics results in understanding how content can be reworked, recycled or removed depending on how it performs. This is also a way of organising unnecessary or obsolete content which doesn’t work for your audience, freeing up vital space in your storage system which is turn helps to reduce your digital footprint. 


Branding and cloud storage

With an exponential rise in digital communication, brands now need to ensure that the content that they are publishing is on-brand and consistent. So how can cloud solutions support this? 

When it comes to Google Drive, the solution can provide a space to stock branded materials that have already been created but doesn’t offer features that relate directly to branding or marketing. 

DAM on the other hand can be a useful tool to help companies ensure that their assets are on-brand and different teams respect the brand guidelines that have been set by the organisation. 

By for example, defining a brand universe and allowing assets to only be changed in certain ways, a DAM platform ensures that users create assets which are unified and in line with the brand. In this way, havingn a set of standard templates which teams can use and modify reduces the need to produce new version each time an image or campaign is created. Once again, this limits the need to teams to go back and forth with creative agencies or teams for minor modifications and reduces the amount of different assets that are being stored in the DAM environment. 

Enhancing efficiency 

Marketing and communication teams now have to juggle numerous tasks, projects and deadlines. In order to respond to a growing rise in digital production, efficiency is championed within these departments. 

Having a cloud solution is a way of prioritising efficiency and managing communication strategies and the processes surrounding them. In what ways can you be more efficient with DAM and Google Drive and prioritise a carbon-reducing strategy? 

Searching for content 

When brands have large amounts of assets, it is logical to store them in one centralised location. With many different formats including images, photos, templates and videos, teams need to be able to locate what they are looking for rapidly, saving time and enhancing collaboration. 

With DAM, assets are tagged thanks to metadata which identifies digital content with attributes and specific keywords. This means that if users are looking for common tags such as “high-top trainers” or “silver bottle”, DAM is able to quickly produce a range of results. 

Google Drive is also easy to use in terms of searchability but cannot offer the same type of granular search functionality that DAM platforms can. 

By being able to search for content more easily, and save time, users are able to easily find the media they are looking for. This can also mean that duplicates are not added to a cloud storage system when a user thinks that what they are looking for doesn’t exist, when in fact it does but with a different name. In this way, one version of every asset is saved on the cloud system, reducing the storage space that is being consumed. 


When working with different stakeholders, being able to share files is an important part of managing projects. 

With Google Drive files can be directly included in emails or links to the Drive can be sent. This provides an easy and quick way to share assets and is particularly useful for dealing with small numbers of assets or low-resolution images. 

Having a DAM system provides a more advanced means of sharing files. Instead of having to send links, upload or transfer heavy files via such sites as WeTransfer, DAM provides a one-stop-shop for your assets. 

Knowing that 50g of CO2 is generated from each email carrying an attachment, internal and external stakeholders can be granted custom access to all or parts of your DAM and files do not need to be transferred back and forth. This also helps with a company’s digital footprint, as users are not having to constantly upload and download assets and use files transfer software. In this way, a collaborative workflow allows users to more intuitively work together and spend less time communicating via email, video call or by sending files to each other, thus reducing their carbon footprint. 


One way of reducing your digital footprint is to seamlessly integrate your various software. This means that rather than downloading assets from your cloud storage and uploading them onto a Content Management System (CMS) for example, assets can be taken from one central location and used on other software. This also means that editing one asset from the DAM will change it across your various channels, so you don’t have to delete and reupload a modified media. 

Google Drive does not allow this functionality but investing in a DAM solution means creating one central hub for all your marketing and communication tools. Instead of switching between different software, assets can be shared across various platforms making tracking them, altering or deleting them easier than ever. This also reduces the need to transfer assets, helps prevent duplicates and reduces time spent moving assets around, in turn decreasing the amount of content that is being stored in multiple locations and generating less emissions. 

Do I opt for a DAM solution or Google Drive?

Opting for a cloud storage system is now becoming essential for marketing and communications tools. Depending on your organisation’s needs and objectives, either solution can offer multiple benefits. 

For small companies or charities, Google Drive can provide a simple and straightforward way to manage various types of content. 

However for larger companies, a DAM platform is going to offer the possibility of going much further in terms of managing, sharing and tracking your assets. What’s more, in a setting where a company’s carbon footprint is being called into question, DAM solutions can provide intelligent ways of recycling, optimising and removing assets, fitting in neatly to an overall carbon-reduction strategy. 

Find out more about Wedia’s DAM solution.

Articles you may find interesting

Get more marketing tips
& news straight to your inbox