What Are Digital Assets? Understanding Digital Assets

What Is Digital Assets?

Digital assets are items that are intended to be used in digital form. They may be stored electronically, or they may be in a physical form that can be read by computers. Common examples of digital assets include website content, digital documents, and digital images.

What Is Digital Assets?

What Is Digital Assets?
What Is Digital Assets?

In general, a digital asset is anything that is created and stored digitally, is identifiable and discoverable, and has or provides value. As technological advances become more integrated into our personal and professional lives, digital assets have grown in popularity and value. Data, images, video, written content, and other digital assets have long been regarded as having ownership rights.

Most digital items, such as a company’s brand, can be assigned a monetary or intangible value. Some digital items, such as a family photo taken on your phone at a gathering, may be valuable only to the creator or one person. Others may be useful to a much larger audience.

Why are Digital Assets so Important?

The way we do business is changing, and while emotions have always influenced purchasing decisions, it is now about more than just creating cool ads to drive customer demand. It’s about who connects with customers the best and how they do it. In an increasingly digital world, the majority of these connections take place through online channels, which is where your digital assets come in.

Digital assets, at their core, are visual representations of your products, services, culture, and, ultimately, your brand. As the primary drivers of online engagement, digital assets serve as the link between your company and your customers, allowing you to interact with them how, when, and where they want.

What is a Digital Assets Management System?

A digital asset management solution is a software and system solution that provides a systematic approach to storing, organizing, managing, retrieving, and distributing digital assets in an organization. Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a business process as well as a type of information management technology, or a digital asset management system. Many organizations use DAM functionality to create a centralized location where they can access their media assets.

Understanding Digital Assets

Understanding Digital Assets
Understanding Digital Assets

Digital assets have evolved beyond the words, images, videos, audio, and documents that we associate with the term. The blockchain—a distributed public ledger secured by a consensus mechanism—was introduced with Bitcoin in 2009. The concept was not novel because data had evolved into a valuable digital asset requiring security, management, and storage. Distributed ledgers and the data contained within them had been around for a while.

Most people who lived and worked outside of data science, management, analysis, or any other field requiring large distributed data networks were unaware of it.

To be considered an asset, a digital asset must first have the potential to create value by being used in a way that generates value for the owner. The digital asset should then be able to transfer ownership to someone else via purchase, gifting, or other means, as well as the value the item can bring. It must also be discoverable or stored in a location where it can be found.

Types of Digital Assets

Types of Digital Assets
Types of Digital Assets

It’s important to note that there is a wide variety of digital assets. A number of the more common ones are listed below.

  • Photos
  • Documents
  • Videos
  • Books
  • Audio/Music
  • Animations
  • Illustrations
  • Manuscripts
  • Emails and email accounts
  • Logos
  • Metadata
  • Content
  • Social media accounts
  • Gaming accounts

Newer digital assets are based on blockchain or similar technologies:

  • Non Fungible tokens
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Tokens
  • Crypto Assets
  • Tokenized Assets
  • Security Tokens
  • Central Bank Digital Currencies

What is the Difference Between Digital Assets and Other Files?

What is the Difference Between Digital Assets and Other Files?
What is the Difference Between Digital Assets and Other Files?

Theresa Regli, a digital asset management industry expert, defines digital assets as “something represented in a digital form that has intrinsic or acquired value” to help distinguish the two. To put it simply, the key distinction is whether or not the file adds value to the company.

For example, if a photoshoot image is used in a social media campaign to raise awareness of an upcoming event and drive registration, that image is considered a digital asset. If, on the other hand, a rough screenshot is sent in a one-time email to a potential client, the image itself has little long-term value and is unlikely to be classified as a digital asset.

When determining the worth of your digital assets, consider more than just their monetary value. It’s also important to consider two factors: the time it took to create it and its ability to be recreated.

Time and Effort to Produce

Consider the time, resources, people, and planning that went into creating the asset when determining its production value. Often, an organization’s most valuable assets are those that require a significant amount of time and effort to create. For example, as a marketing manager, losing a single photo is likely to be resolved quickly by re-editing the raw file or selecting another from the shoot. Even if you still have each individual asset, recreating and re-approving a fully-edited and ready-to-distribute eBook will take significantly more time and effort.

This is an extremely common problem. In fact, according to our most recent DAM Trends Report, 41% of organizations without a digital asset management (DAM) solution had to recreate or repurchase an asset.

Ability to Reproduce

When assets are impossible to replicate, they become increasingly valuable. These types of assets are typically derived from one-time, never-to-occur-again events that cannot be recreated with all the time and money in the world. For example, as any sports team’s marketing department knows all too well, a single photo of a game-winning goal can be extremely valuable and cannot be recreated if it is misplaced. In terms of costs, it’s just one of hundreds of images taken by photographers in a single night, but to the marketing team, this single photo is more valuable than gold.

How to Make Digital Assets Discoverable?

How to Make Digital Assets Discoverable?
How to Make Digital Assets Discoverable?

While it is important to invest in creating digital assets, the assets are only valuable if they can be found. When working with a large number of digital assets, it’s critical to take steps to ensure they’re discoverable and manageable. This is typically accomplished through the consistent application of metadata (keywords, titles, photographer name, etc.) and a smart taxonomy (category structure):


Metadata is essentially data about data, providing additional information about the asset in addition to the filename. Metadata is classified into two types, which are as follows:

  • Technical metadata: typically displayed automatically, such as resolution, photographer name, dimensions, and size.
  • Descriptive metadata: information used to describe a resource for the purposes of discovery, such as the title, description, and keywords.


A taxonomy is a hierarchical structure that allows you to categorize and classify your assets to facilitate navigation and identify asset relationships. A taxonomy will assist users in browsing for assets in a digital asset management system, especially when they are unsure what they are looking for. While basic metadata and taxonomy can be created in-house, most businesses use a digital asset management system to fully control their digital assets and provide instant access to those who require them.

How Does Digital Asset Management Work?

How Does Digital Asset Management Work?
How Does Digital Asset Management Work?

DAM works by giving organizations the processes, safeguards, and tools they need to better manage, organize, and distribute their digital assets with greater control, intention, and speed. A DAM system is intended to support these efforts and is frequently an essential component of a successful DAM strategy.

A DAM system functions as a central repository and control center with multiple inputs and outputs. Media files such as logos, images, and videos can be uploaded into the DAM platform by approved users or a system administrator. After the files are ingested by the system, humans (or, in the case of some DAM platforms, image recognition software) tag each file with metadata. Metadata is data that describes an asset and allows system users to search for and find content in the system.

The DAM platform’s security features govern which user groups have access to which assets and how they use them. The assets can then be downloaded for personal use or shared with collaborators and partners via portals, share links, embed codes, and system integrations.

How to Choose a Digital Asset Management System?

How to Choose a Digital Asset Management System?
How to Choose a Digital Asset Management System?

Choosing the best DAM software begins with a strategy. It’s critical to understand your team’s needs as well as how DAM technology will fit into your overall digital ecosystem. You can accomplish this by outlining use cases, comparing features, and other methods. You can also delve deeper by asking questions like, “What do we want to achieve?” What is the total value of our assets? What impact will this new software have on our workflows?

Allow yourself time to explore and even test drive different solutions via free trials or proof-of-concept (aka sandbox) sites during the vendor evaluation process. DAM solutions vary in their capabilities and strengths. The key is to identify your requirements and priorities and then match them to what a system can provide. Visit our DAM Evaluation Toolkit for a step-by-step guide to selecting the best DAM software. It’s jam-packed with advice, tips, and activities that will help you find the best DAM software for your company.



Why use a digital asset management system?

There are many reasons to use a digital asset management system. Here are just a few:

  1. To keep track of your digital assets: A digital asset management system can help you keep track of all your digital assets in one place. This can be especially helpful if you have a lot of digital assets or if you need to keep track of assets across multiple platforms.
  1. To keep your digital assets organized: A digital asset management system can help you organize your digital assets so that you can easily find them when you need them. This can be especially helpful if you have a lot of digital assets or if you need to keep track of assets across multiple platforms.
  1. To share your digital assets with others: A digital asset management system can help you share your digital assets with others. This can be especially helpful if you need to share assets with team members or if you need to share assets with clients or customers.
  1. To protect your digital assets: A digital asset management system can help you protect your digital assets. This can be especially helpful if you have sensitive or confidential digital assets.

Is Bitcoin a Digital Asset?

Bitcoin is a digital asset and a payment system invented by Satoshi Nakamoto. Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public dispersed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin is unique in that there are a finite number of them: 21 million.

Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment.

How are digital assets and digital footprints related?

Digital assets are the online equivalent of your physical and financial assets, like your house or your savings account. Your digital footprint is the trail you leave behind as you use the internet. It includes everything from the websites you visit to the things you post and share online.

What are examples of digital assets?

Some examples of digital assets are computer programs, databases, digital images, digital videos, and website content.


Digital assets are a type of intangible asset that refers to things like digital images, websites, and software. They are often created by businesses or individuals to help them in their work, and can have significant value. Many businesses now place a high importance on digital assets, as they can be a key part of a company’s operations and marketing.

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