Billy Attar
Billy Attar
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January 28, 2024

Google Drive Digital Asset Management: How to use Google Drive with a DAM

You don’t need to abandon Google Drive in order to get all of the benefits of a digital asset manager. This post shows you how we manage our digital assets while using Google Drive.

What’s the biggest challenge you face with Google Drive?

The likeliest answer is finding shared files in your messy drive. 

A digital asset manager (DAM) is the popular alternative to organizing (and failing😄) your folders.

The downside is that most DAMs require you to stop using Google Drive, which isn’t in your best interest.

In this post I'll go over how you can keep using Google Drive while enjoying the benefits of a DAM.

I’ll explain:

  • Why most DAMs make you abandon Google Drive
  • Why it’s best to keep Google Drive and not to store files in your DAM
  • Which platform gives the best of both worlds: Storing files in Google Drive and the organization and collaboration tools of a DAM platform

So be sure to read this post until the end. That way you can make the best decision for you.

Google Drive asset management overview

Before I get into the review itself, I want to quickly cover the benefits you’d want to keep from each type of platform.

The benefits of Google Drive

  1. Reliability. Google is a massive company and you can rely on them to back up and secure your files.
  2. Cost. Google’s G Workspace (formerly G Suite) is relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to DAMs.
  3. Scale. Google has practically infinite scalability and offers generous storage space.
  4. Integrations with G Workspace. Google Drive is integrated with all of the tools you currently use like Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Search, etc.
  5. Tools. Google Drive comes with all the shared file tools like Docs, Sheets, Slides and Draw.

The benefits of using a DAM

  1. Organization. Most DAMs have multiple ways to organize files and a UI that’s superior to Google’s file-based UI.
  2. Access permissions. It’s easier to collaborate with internal and external collaborators with a DAM’s better permissions and features.
  3. Avoid the Google mess. Folder systems were designed to today’s collaborative style of work. That’s why every Google Drive instance eventually turns into a mess no matter how hard you try to be neat.

Why most DAMs make you abandon Google Drive

One of the real blockers for using a DAM is that they often force you to stop using Google Drive as your primary storage provider.

There are two reasons why:

  1. The DAM can generate metadata from your files (ex: colors in the image) hen you store your files in the DAM
  2. Locking-in users is more profitable. It’s very painful to switch platforms once you’ve stored all your files in a specific asset manager.

This is wrong and a bad deal for most companies.

Google Drive is comfortable to use and already part of the paid package you get with Google Workspace. You also shouldn’t be forced to lock-in your organization into any platform. If you save everything in your expensive DAM, it becomes very painful to leave.

Why your best bet is to use a Google Drive-friendly DAM

Using Google Drive as a DAM or combining it with a Google Drive-based DAM gives you the most flexible, dependable platform.

A few reasons why:

  1. Google Drive gives you best in class storage and tools.
  2. A Google Drive-friendly DAM (like Neatly) doesn’t lock you into a platform and gives you the ability to keep using and storing files in Google Drive.
  3. The combination of Google Drive and Neatly (or a similar Drive based DAM) is significantly less expensive than traditional DAMs which can cost thousands of dollars. 
  4. Meta info is overkill for most companies - they need a simple doc/file management system focused on collaboration (internally and with clients and partners), organization and speed.

Integrating Neatly with Google Drive

How Neatly turns Google Drive into a digital asset manager.

Neatly is a lightweight DAM that sits on top of Google Drive. It makes it simple for employees to find shared files while allowing you to keep using Google Drive for storage.

How to connect Neatly with Google Drive

  • Connecting only takes a click.
  • You can sync entire folders into Neatly from Google Drive.
  • You can bulk upload files or choose from your latest created or shared files in the File Feed.
  • Users can also upload or create Google files like Google Docs and Sheets directly in Neatly.
  • Finally, Neatly lets you paste links as well, so you can add links to web pages (like a report in your CRM), shareable links from other platforms like Dropbox, etc.

The benefits of combining Neatly with Google Drive:

  • No clutter. Folders were designed for storage, not user friendliness. Neatly gives users a cleaner and easier interface to work with.
  • Each user only sees the files that are relevant to them using Neatly’s access controls.
  • Project management becomes much easier with the Projects tab. 
  • Users get notifications when new, relevant files are added, which they wouldn’t get with just Google Drive. 
  • The ability to paste links into Neatly makes it cross-platform. You can save files for Google Drive, Dropbox, online media mentions, links to tools & reports, etc. all in one place.

Feature breakdown

  Google Drive + Neatly Traditional DAM
Cost Inexpensive Very Expensive
Storage Google Drive Store files in the DAM (locked-in)
Project Management Yes Sometimes
Client Management Yes Sometimes
Cross-Platform Yes, works with shareable links from Dropbox, etc. Sometimes
Ease of Use Simple, designed for all users Complex, designed for advanced users


Because traditional digital asset managers are expensive, they need to add functionality to justify the hefty price tag. It makes sense for some businesses, especially enterprises, but it overkill for most. You'll want to look at Neatly if you want DAM features while storing files in Google Drive and collaborating with Google docs, sheets and slides.

Want to try Neatly? Sign up for free.

Billy Attar
Billy Attar
Hey there. I'm Neatly's founder, a 4 time first marketing hire, a hack-a-solution enthusiast & a Turkish coffee snob.