June 25, 2024

What is creative asset tagging?

It's all about efficiency, consistency, and collaboration.

Creative asset tagging is a vital tool if you want to keep your marketing efforts organized and impactful.

Improper asset management—or just, you know, winging it—leads to unnecessary waste, confusion, and a lot of lost opportunities.

Below, we'll go into some of the basics of creative asset tagging. And then—spoiler alert—we'll walk through SmartAssets, a platform that can make the entire process a whole lot easier.

What is creative asset tagging?

Creative asset tagging involves assigning metadata tags to digital assets such as images, videos, and documents.

These asset labels help in categorizing and organizing assets, making them easily searchable within a digital asset management (DAM) system.

Tags can include information like keywords, descriptions, dates, and more, effectively turning individual assets into well-documented, easily accessible files that can be retrieved easily.

Why does creative asset tagging matter?

There are a few key reasons you’ll want to spend some time developing efficient asset management, and making sure that everyone on your team is willing to play ball.

Imagine you’re an incredibly prolific contemporary artist. You have galleries showing your work all over the world, and studios in multiple cities.

But instead of hiring a studio manager to oversee these physical assets, you decide to stack drawings in random boxes. Every now and then you take a small sculpture home and leave it in a cluttered closet. If you’re feeling diligent, you slap a Post-It on a stack of paintings with a helpful identifier, like “mostly uses orange.”

When you really need something for the major retrospective MoMa just offered, you’ll ...remember where it is, right?

Think of your brand’s digital assets as tiny masterpieces. If you label them correctly, they’ll make magic for you. If you don’t, they’re liable to languish in the back of your virtual closet, gathering dust.

Implementing effective creative asset tagging

Alright, so you’re convinced: Proper creative asset tagging is better for your business than shoving your digital files in the equivalent of a junk drawer.

Now you just have to put this theory into practice.

To effectively implement creative asset tagging, consider the following best practices.

Choose the right tool!

Invest in a reliable digital asset management system or other tool that supports tagging. For example, use one that leverages AI to improve and implement smart tagging, like SmartAssets—more on that below.


If you want to develop a more DIY system, you do you. But remember to develop a standardized tagging system to ensure consistency across all assets. We’ll unpack this more in the next section.

Train your team!

This is a case where you’re only as strong (and organized) as your weakest link.

Educate your team on the importance of tagging and how to apply tags correctly. Implement an increasing series of bizarre punishments for those who fail to abide by the standards. (Just checking to see if you’re still reading here.)


Periodically audit and update your tags to reflect any changes in your asset library or business needs.

Steps to standardize your tags

It’s not enough to send a Slack message to your team telling them to “start tagging creative assets plz.” You need guidance in place that others can easily follow.

Here are some best practices.

  • Create a tagging framework: Develop a clear set of guidelines that outline how tags should be applied, including rules on naming conventions, capitalization, and punctuation.
  • Establish categories: Define categories for tags such as type, topic, date, project, and status. In the section below, we’ve included some sample fields to borrow from.
  • Predefined tag lists: Create lists of predefined tags that users can choose from. This reduces the chances of inconsistent tagging and ensures everyone uses the same terms.
  • Metadata standards: Consider adopting metadata standards like Dublin Core, which provides a handy vocabulary for describing your resources.

Or if you prefer, set your own custom metadata fields based on your brand’s own needs—let’s take a look at some options.

Examples of tagging fields

Here are some fields you might consider adopting for your own tagging system to track asset information. Whatever unique identifiers you choose, just remember: Uniformity and consistency is key.

Asset type: Image file, video, document
Format: PDF, JPEG, MP4
Date: 2024-05-14, Q2-2024
Status: Draft, Final, Approved
Project Name: Project Avocado, Project Cloud
Department: Marketing, IT, HR
Campaign: Spring Campaign, Holiday Promo
Content Type: Banner, Brochure, Video Ad
Usage rights: Internal, external, public domain
Target audience: B2B, American women 18-30.
Description/notes: Room for more free-form asset explanation (“Gary S made this one for the October conference in New York but it was never used—can be repurposed”).

Better options for creative asset tagging

Okay, so we’ve walked you through the basics of a typical creative asset tagging system. Here’s the bad news...

If you’re settling for the standard tagging protocol or asset tracking software, you’re still not going to be as efficient and organized as possible.

AI-powered tools like SmartAssets can help audit and tag your existing creative assets automatically, ensuring that the right image or video is always at your fingertips. Think of it like a supercharged Digital Asset Management (DAM) system for the 21st century.

But SmartAssets is more than just an asset tracking system. The tool lets you test your assets before you launch them or waste money on A/B tests, using AI to predict performance and suggest creative tweaks that can be made in-platform.

Interested in learning more? We’d love to show you how it works.  

Scott Indrisek

Scott Indrisek is the Senior Editorial Lead at Stagwell Marketing Cloud

Take five minutes to elevate your marketing POV
Twice monthly, get the latest from Into the Cloud in your inbox.
We’ll be in touch!
Someone from our sales team will reach out within 24 hours.
In the meantime, you can learn more about our product groups.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Related articles
Fake meat, fake beer, real opinions
Harris QuestDIY helps us gauge sentiment toward meat alternatives & NA beverages this BBQ season.
The trouble with gift ads
Exploring a genre that's in love with cliché.