Why You Need Automated Metadata Tagging in Your DAM


Uploading all of your team’s branded assets into a digital asset management (DAM) system can either be a breeze… or a long, painful process that never seems to end. The difference? How much support you get from the DAM help team and how much automation they have in place.

That process of moving all your files into one place is called the “ingestion process,” and it involves more than just collecting your files from across the company (already a daunting task) into one place. It also includes adding high-quality metadata to your assets. That metadata will make it so your team can always find what they’re looking for.

When we talk about “metadata” in terms of digital asset management, we mean all of the data that enables search and discovery — anything embedded in the digital asset when it’s uploaded, such as the file name, author, date created, and content type, plus any other metadata fields you create.

In this post, we explain more about what metadata tagging is, the benefits of automating metadata tagging, and how auto-tagging in Brandfolder works.

Brandfolder can do more than just help with metadata tagging. Sign up for a free demo to see how you can use Brandfolder to store all file types in one place, simplify sharing, and save your teams time!

View of AI aided metadata and tags in Brandfolder Brand Intelligence

A metadata tag, in digital asset management, is defined as a descriptive term or keyword assigned to an asset to improve its categorization and findability. Tags often pertain to the content of the asset — colors, products, people, background objects. But beyond including descriptive tags, there are a few other ways to approach metadata tagging. You can also:

  • Add hierarchical keywords based on your content taxonomy (i.e., categorize product images with tags like, “Women’s Clothes,” “Women’s Tops,” “Blouse,” “Tank,” etc.)
  • Add descriptors to define large groups or collections of assets (i.e., tag assets for specific campaigns, such as “assets for the 2021 Black Friday Sale,” or assets for different use cases, like “assets for use on Facebook”)
  • Add tags related to asset ownership or usage (i.e., create tags to credit the asset’s creator, author, or photographer; require approval to use the asset by tagging it “By request only”)

Metadata tagging is the process of adding these tags to your library of digital assets. You can imagine how long manual tagging takes if you have to sit and add tags to each and every one of your assets. That’s exactly the problem automated metadata tagging helps solve.

The most important benefit of automated metadata tagging is saved time: “Automated metadata tagging” is just a technical way of saying that artificial intelligence will tag your assets for you. So in DAMs which have an automated metadata tagging feature, their AI will adhere to the tagging rules you set while analyzing the content of your assets to apply other relevant metadata tags, saving you hours — if not days — of work you’d have if you followed a manual process.

Shopping Tip: When searching for the best DAM software, look at the features available to improve asset organization and findability. This will help you compare each DAM’s ease of use and find a solution that makes sense for your team.

When assets are tagged correctly, your DAM system’s search engine will be easier to use. Internal teams and external stakeholders can come into your DAM and quickly find the assets they need (instead of weeding through a bunch of unrelated search results).

Another benefit of using artificial intelligence to automate metadata tagging is the ability to find new ways of classifying and categorizing assets. Artificial intelligence can pick up on things we might not immediately notice or think of, and self-learning AI algorithms can apply tags based on how your users search for assets (what one user might call a “sandwich,” another may call a “hoagie,” or a “wedge”).

To improve the suggested tags overtime, you can review them so the AI learns from what you approve or reject. It may also help you refine your tagging taxonomy — thereby improving asset discovery for all of your users.

In Brandfolder, automated metadata tagging is powered by Brand Intelligence, our software’s machine-learning artificial intelligence.

Brand Intelligence is built with proprietary algorithms and leverages APIs from tech giants like Google so it can quickly and accurately inspect all of the content within each asset while applying specific, relevant tags. To be more exact, it uses product-image recognition to add branded tags, video scene detection to analyze video frames, and speech recognition to transcribe and pull information from audio.

But in order for Brand Intelligence to work for you, it has to learn from your content taxonomy and tagging habits. So let’s talk more about the content tagging process in Brandfolder:

Worth noting: Don’t worry, if this is your first time putting together a strategy for defining metadata rules, you can read more about the content taxonomy process here. Plus, our team is always available to walk you through the process.

  1. Before you even upload your first asset, you have to define how automation works by mapping out your metadata structure and tagging taxonomy.
  2. Once you define how you want your assets to be tagged, you can begin the uploading process.
  3. As assets are uploaded, Brand Intelligence will pull all of the information embedded in the asset and add that information to the asset’s metadata.
  4. Then, Brandfolder auto-tags all of your assets based on the metadata taxonomy you set. (So you’re manually choosing the tags you want by mapping out your metadata taxonomy, then our software actually does the tagging for you.)
  5. Before indexing, Brand Intelligence analyzes the content of your assets to add any other tags that could improve searchability.

After your assets are uploaded, you can view their metadata information and tags within the asset overview.

View of asset metadata overview in Brandfolder

All of the tags are displayed right below the asset preview. The “manual” tags from your metadata taxonomy are shown with a solid line, and the AI tags have a dotted line. This makes it easy to review the tags Brand Intelligence added.

It’s also important to mention: Tags aren’t set in stone after an asset is uploaded.

Brandfolder also supports manual tagging, so you can add tags to assets on the fly — which is especially beneficial when adding tags in “one-off” instances — or remove any of the AI tags that aren’t approved. Our machine learning algorithm will learn from the tags you add and remove from assets to strategically tag future uploads.

For example, say you’re tagging assets for a marketing campaign that’s running for a limited time: You can search through your asset library and manually add campaign-specific tags to all of the digital assets you want to use for the campaign. Then, other marketers can easily find and use those assets by searching those tags.

After the campaign is over, you can delete or “expire” those marketing assets, and the manual tags you added will delete or “expire” with them. That way, Brand Intelligence knows not to add those campaign-specific tags to other assets.

Searching Assets With Brand Intelligence

The whole point of adding metadata and tags to assets is to enhance searchability, so we also designed Brand Intelligence to make searching faster and easier.

Brand Intelligence streamlines search in three ways:

  1. It uses natural language processing to better understand the searcher’s intent
  2. As it searches, it re-analyzes the content of your assets and scans through all of the available information about each asset, including the asset’s metadata and tags
  3. It searches through your entire asset library, instead of requiring you to search collection-by-collection

Other Benefits of Brand Intelligence

In addition to aiding in asset ingestion and metadata tagging, Brand Intelligence…

  • Keeps your asset library organized by detecting duplicate assets
  • Helps your team work more strategically by providing asset analytics

View of Brand Intelligence suggesting related assets in Brandfolder

As you upload new assets in Brandfolder, Brand Intelligence scans through your asset library to see if what you’re uploading matches any of the digital content that already exists in Brandfolder. If it does, you can choose to nix the upload or merge the new file with the old. (Typically, users choose to merge files when they’re working with duplicate assets of different file formats.) When merging the asset, our software creates an asset stack so you can keep all versions of the asset together and don’t have 10+ versions of your asset living in different places.

View of asset insights in Brandfolder

When viewing assets in Brandfolder, you can take a peek at how often each asset is viewed, downloaded, and used across the web by looking at the asset’s insights and analytics. These engagement metrics can help you gauge which of your assets are most popular and make more calculated changes to your creative and marketing efforts.

Give Brandfolder a Try

Challenges with uploading assets and software adoption are the main reasons why businesses fail to transition over to a digital asset management system successfully. That’s why we designed Brandfolder with intuitive tools to automate ingestion and provide dedicated support through the entire onboarding process.

Our team is available 24/7 to help you set up your Brandfolder, so you’re never left to navigate set-up on your own. We’ll walk you through the ingestion process, and even help you map out your metadata taxonomy so that our search feature is tailored to your end users. (Our speedy onboarding features and helpful customer support are the reason we have a 99% retention rate among our clients.)

To learn more about Brandfolder’s solution for digital asset management, sign up for a free demo with our team! During the demo, we can talk more about customizing Brandfolder for your needs and answer any questions you have about our features and pricing.