What’s the Difference Between DAM and MAM (and How Much Does It Matter?)

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Spoilers: there is a difference between DAM and MAM and it kind of matters. The blurring of the line between the two is partly owed to the way ‘digital asset management’ (DAM) and ‘media asset management’ (MAM) are used interchangeably. How much it matters depends on a few things. We’ll get to that.

The ground-level fact about both is that they’re in hot demand. Projections for DAM market value in 2022 were $5.09 billion, growing to an estimated $9.42 billion in 2026. You can take MAM for granted as part of those figures, given that it’s essentially a subset of DAM.

So, what actually are the differences and similarities between MAM and DAM? And what exactly is the overlap that clouds their distinction?

DAM vs MAM: What’s the Difference?

People who wonder ‘what’s the difference between MAM and DAM?’ might also be asking the question ‘should I use MAM or DAM?’. Let’s answer the latter as a route to answering the first.

Digital asset management (usually) excludes video (but not always)

MAM systems typically offer media asset management focused almost exclusively on video, though there are exceptions of more modern, cloud-based DAM solution providers that offer video media asset management as a nice extra with significant benefits. No prizes for guessing who (*cough*).

That’s pretty useful when you consider things like:

1. In 2013 60% of marketers used to create at least one piece of content each day. Nobody seems to have updated this stat. Just imagine the figure today. (Source: eMarketer)

2. 80% of video marketers claim that video has directly increased sales. (Source: Wyzowl via HubSpot)

With photo and video visual content likely to continue carrying brand and marketing strategies, an all-doing DAM and MAM platform is a no-brainer.

Media asset management systems are essential for audio-visual production

If you’re a video editor, your MAM system is priceless for storing video content while you work in offline editing tools environments like Adobe Premiere.

If all you do is edit video, there are tons of dedicated MAM tools out there. That said, there are creative production DAM platforms that include MAM features like video versioning, auto-ingest and cloud rendering that some standalone MAM platforms may not offer.

DAM vs MAM: How Are They Similar?

Ok. That was the main difference between DAM and MAM. How are they similar?

From the moment digital assets are created, through to maintenance and content distribution:

Whatever benefits you notice from your MAM solution, you’ll almost certainly also get on a DAM platform. The one exception might be custom integrations. Those can vary from platform to platform. Legacy platforms

If you’re using a dated MAM platform that doesn’t provide true creative workflow automation, then it’s worth switching to a modern DAM platform that can.

DAM Integration vs MAM Integration

All of those handy custom integrations—into other tools like Slack, Airtable, Salesforce and WordPress—rely on a headless digital asset management platform.

Headless DAM integration

In a digital asset management context, headless architecture offers a single, unified media asset library with multi-context utility across teams, functions and systems.

The ‘headless’ part means developer-friendly API availability (Application Programming Interface) for creating seamless custom integrations across entire creative workflows that include other apps in your creative tech stack.

MAM Integration

Ok, so how is MAM integration different? The answer is that it’s not really too different.

Any video media asset management software worth its subscription fee should offer similar API-based open architecture.

With that in place, you’ll achieve seamless communication between other tools. Ultimately, that’s how you keep your content distribution pace up, and cost of ownership down over time.

Wrapping up: DAM v. MAM, Which Comes Out on Top?

So. Which is better in the DAM vs MAM arena?

There are two answers. The simple answer is ‘it depends’ on the nature of your digital business and needs. If you handle video and audio content exclusively and need smart integrations with editing tools, then a dedicated MAM is perfect.

That said, MAM-inclusive digital asset management solutions like globaledit come with sophisticated integrations for audio and video creative workflows that legacy media asset management platforms can lack.