Using Dropbox for digital asset management is like cutting steak with a bread knife. It might work, but the experience sucks because that's not what it’s made for.
While Dropbox is great for general file management, it doesn't cut it when it comes to storing and sharing visual content for small businesses. Read on to discover a better system for organising your digital assets.
What is Dropbox?
You probably have a fair idea of Dropbox’s file management capabilities—which is why you're considering storing your images here in the first place. Or maybe you're already using it to manage your visual content.
But for those who aren't familiar, Dropbox is a cloud-based file management system. That’s honestly a mouthful, so let’s break it down.
Dropbox is pretty similar to Google Drive. It allows you to store all your files in a central and secure server and access them from any device. You can also share these files with your team members and external collaborators with a click of a button, making teamwork a breeze.
- Automatically sync files between your computer and the cloud: Dropbox gives you a local folder for storing and accessing files—just like any other folder on your computer. Dropbox automatically uploads any files you save to the Dropbox account to the cloud. You can also share files directly from the folder, without logging in to the Dropbox website.
- Share files with internal and external collaborators: Dropbox allows users to share files with others, either by creating a shareable link or by inviting others to a shared folder.
- Control who views and accesses your files: Dropbox allows users to set granular access controls, such as read-only or edit access, for shared files and folders. You can also set a password for shared links, preventing unauthorised access to shared files.
Despite its excellent file management features, there’s one place Dropbox falls short: Storing visual content. According to one user:
“Dropbox does not have built-in photo management tools, such as the ability to view and organise photos in a gallery.”
Dropbox might work for you if you only have a few images. But as your small business expands and existing files get buried under heaps of new ones, your visual asset library starts to feel like a maze—lots of folders, endless circles, and dead ends.
Say you have 5,000 product images in Dropbox and want to find a specific image but don’t remember the file name. You need to click and view these images one after the other, hoping to find “the one.” Luckily, there's a better way to organise your visual content: Digital asset management.
What is a digital asset management system?
A digital asset management system, or DAM, is a central location for all your visual content—from brand and product images to videos and infographics. Think of it like a search engine for your digital assets. It’ll help you store, manage, and deploy your digital assets fast.
Unlike Dropbox, you can find images in a DAM system without knowing their exact file names. No more scrolling through heaps of generic thumbnails to find a specific image.
A tool like Dash automatically scans your images and adds searchable tags that match your content. You can also add custom tags and filters to help you find saved content quickly.
For example, I uploaded this image to Dash, and it automatically tagged the image with “home decor”.
When I type “home decor” in the search bar, the image pops up. I didn't even have to change the file name—how cool is that? 🤩
Here are some more ways a digital asset management tool like Dash helps you manage your visual assets:
- Find product images quickly: With a DAM tool's advanced search function, anyone on your team can find the content without needing to hassle you. They can simply type in a keyword and filter through customer fields to find the image they need.
- Deploy visual content fast: You can use DAM to get assets ready for your marketing channels. With Dash, for example, you can resize images for your social channels and set up custom crops for your website, email headers and more. Dash also integrates with Shopify and Hootsuite so you deploy your content in a few clicks. The quicker you can get your images to your channels, the faster your customers will see your new campaigns and—hopefully—convert.
- Share your visual content with freelancers and agencies: Say you work with an ad agency. They might need regular access to product images and brand assets. In Dash, you can set up a public portal and fill it with the visual content you want to share. Your agency won’t need a log in and they can browse the portal just like they would a regular Dash account. This makes collaboration super smooth and means you don’t need to send assets over Drive or Dropbox where they might get buried forever.
Learn more about how agencies use Dash for digital asset management.
- Transfer files from Dropbox and Google Drive: If you want to move images from Dropbox to your DAM you won’t need to worry manually downloading and uploading them. Instead, use the Drive andDropbox integration to import them directly into Dash. 🙌
DAM vs Dropbox: How do they compare for visuals?
Let's pit both tools against each other, so you have a better idea of their strengths and weaknesses and how they might fit into your business workflow.
DAM vs Dropbox: Features
First up, let’s take a look at the features of both tools. Here, we’ll compare Dash specifically so you can get a clear picture of the functionality.
That’s a lot of features—but it doesn’t end there. Learn more about the features of a digital assets management system and discover how it can help you manage your brand’s visual content.
DAM vs Dropbox: Ease of use
As a growing business, you’re already dealing with many moving parts. The last thing you need is a DAM tool that requires contacting support to get basic things done.
Unfortunately, Dropbox drops the ball here. The app’s interface is clunky and a bit outdated. It has too many features, to the point that simple tasks like file sharing and searching for saved content have become super-complicated.
Here's how one Dropbox user explains it:
“There’s so much unwanted additional functionality on top of simple file sharing that the interface is now confusing and inaccessible. It's very difficult to do the simplest things like copying a link to a file in my Dropbox so I can paste it into an email for someone.”
So how do DAM tools compare?
Many DAM tools—particularly enterprise digital asset management—don’t have the best user interface. In fact a lot of well-known DAMs like Canto and Bynder have so many complex features that the interface gets overlooked and ends up clunky and uninspiring.
Well, not Dash! We were voted the easiest-to-use digital asset management tool on G2. It’s really easy to use and perfect for brands who want to do their visual content the justice they deserve. For example, you get beautiful previews of your visual content instead of generic thumbnails. Take a look at one of our customers, COAT, whose Dash account looks like a beautifully curated Pinterest page 😍.
We've also created a ton of educational content to teach you how to use our DAM, including the Dash Academy, that’ll teach you how to use the system. And our support team is always available to answer your questions via the app.
Here are our latest G2 awards to prove just how awesome Dash is. 😇
DAM vs Dropbox: Which teams will benefit from them?
There are many things your teams can do with DAM tools and Dropbox. Here’s a breakdown of each use case.
DAM tools are perfect for managing digital content for marketing campaigns.
Say your team is working with an external graphics designer to develop images for a landing page. With a DAM, they can provide real-time feedback throughout the project. And when the images are ready, your team will upload them directly to your website from the DAM.
On the flip side, your marketing team can use Dropbox to manage documents in different formats. Say they want to send a freelancer a content brief or brand guidelines; Dropbox is great for doing these things!
🤓 Here's more about using Dash as your marketing asset management software.
DAM tools and design teams are a match made in heaven! Apart from letting your creative team show off their pretty designs, a tool like Dash allows them to:
- Organise digital content according to file types like JPG, PNG, and SVG.
- Collaborate with the rest of the team in real-time—no more frustrating back and forth.
- Share large design files quickly; say goodbye to file attachments.
- Sync with their favourite design tools like Sketch and Figma for a smoother workflow.
If you don’t want to ditch Dropbox altogether, it’s good to note that it’s a great place to keep image files you're not using at the moment—like old product images, yet-to-be edited photos and even logo samples. Think of it as a visual assets storeroom.
When you need these assets, you can transfer them into your DAM tool. Dash has a simple Dropbox integration that allows you to directly import folders without altering their original structure.
Your design team can also use Dropbox to send and receive documents like brand guidelines.
🤓 See how design teams are using DAMs to scale their productivity.
Your sales teams will probably use Dropbox more than a DAM tool because they mainly work with documents.
Dropbox can be a central vault for decks, contracts, proposals, case studies and the like. Managing these files is easier when you have them in one place. Your sales team can even use Dropbox as a CRM tool or integrate it with out-of-box solutions like Salesforce and Zoho.
However, when it's time to share visual content with leads and customers, DAM software is your best bet. Take the History & Heraldry (H&H) Group that uses Dash to share updated product brochures with the rest of their teams.
DAM vs Dropbox: Pricing
How much will you spend on Dropbox vs a DAM tool? Let’s compare the numbers.
Dropbox has a free plan and six paid plans for different users — starting at $11.99 per month. Check out Dropbox’s plans and pricing list to get the full scoop.
Say your team of ten subscribes to Dropbox’s Standard plan. In that case, you will spend about $180 monthly on your file management system. This is reasonably priced and probably fits right into your small business budget. But remember: Dropbox is not good for storing images so you'll be wasting time (and money) if this is the only tool you're using.
Some DAMs cost as much as $50,000 per year—that number literally made my jaw drop.
As a small business, you don’t need to spend that amount of money on digital asset management. Dash should be on your radar if you’re looking for a DAM tool that fits your small budget.
Our pricing starts at £79 or $109 a month for unlimited users—that’s only $1177 a year! You get access to all our features, like portals and auto-tagging for image, audio and videos. Prices increase depending on what asset and download bundles you need. There's also an unlimited tier if you don't want download restrictions.
Which tool is best for visual content?
To put it simply, Dropbox is not a good DAM solution because it cannot manage visual content effectively. This doesn't mean Dropbox has no place in your workflow. It's a great app, and you can use it to organise, share and secure important documents.
But when it comes to visual content management, a DAM like Dash is your best bet. You get auto tags to help you find images fast, beautiful image previews and loads of collaboration features so your team can work better.
“But I already have visual assets stuck in Dropbox. What should I do? 😨”
Not to worry! We've created a Dropbox integration that lets you import image folders to your Dash fast. Try it out for free for 14 days and let us know what you think.