Image Tagging – Where to begin?
With companies putting together more and more content to woo their website visitors in hopes of turning them into customers, there are consequences they may not even realize. Your typical merchandising and marketing teams require images for an online store, landing pages, digital campaigns, presentations, brochures, and other media. With so many different images being generated and floating around, image classification can become a complex process.
As a company whose specialty is Document Tag Management, we’ve seen it all. Even with the best of intentions and strategic thinking, businesses have a hard time coming up with processes that can be scaled up. Something like a spreadsheet that documents every image and marks them with attributes like purpose, location, creation date, and where it’s stored, may seem like a good idea at the time, but quickly becomes unmanageable. We admire the effort, but there are much easier ways to keep files organized.
Unleash the full potential of your media. Let’s take a look at how image tagging can help you to better organize and manage digital assets like lifestyle product shots, stock images, and other design and marketing-related assets, and how you can put in place a system of image management that scales.
Why is image tagging valuable?
Right now, there are two main ways people search for images. They might follow a folder path structure and stumble their way in finding a filename that matches what they’re after. They also may choose to manually navigate through what can potentially be 100’s thumbnail images. Either way can be a time-consuming endeavor.
Metadata provides a more laser-focused way of finding image files that opens up a web of different ways that they can be discovered. Manual searching is minimized, with team members empowered with a smarter way to find the images they’re looking for.
Metadata provides context like the who, what, and where of a file, giving those searching insights that go beyond a file name. It guides those searching with more precise information, making it easier to discover the exact images that they require. Quality photo management software also makes it possible to include technical metadata such as image format, size, file location, as well as access permissions. Between contextual and technical metadata, those searching for image files have all the markers they need to lead them in the right direction.
The following tips are designed to assist your team in understanding how to effectively execute an image tagging strategy. We want to help you in developing the know-how to be successful and avoid metadata management mistakes. Every company is going to require different tagging structures, and what’s ultimately the most important is identifying what works the best and sticking with it.
7 Image Tagging Tips
Tip #1: Use image tagging software
A digital asset tag management tool helps team members in organizing and looking for images faster with greater accuracy and consistency. This saves them from having to tediously go through file paths in hopes of landing on what they’re searching for or seems close enough.
Digitile makes it possible to categorize tags thematically into groups. Tagging and categorization allow for sophisticated interrelationships that standard ways of digital asset management can’t. There are multiple paths to discover digital assets allowing for a more efficient way for team members to find what they’re looking for when they need it. Companies are turning to Digitile to achieve faster time to market, greater team productivity, and significant cost savings. Imagine what you can do with image tags.
Tip #2: Come up with a plan
Think about what you want image tagging to accomplish for you and your organization. Rather than approaching things with the intent to tag your entire library of photos, consider which images you’re most likely to reference and why they’re important.
Your main objective may be to tag new images so that they’re easy to access. Or it could be tackling that stack of stock photos that you’ve used again and again, that you want to retire.
Remember, your goal is to make images discoverable through multiple paths, enabling anyone to find them immediately. Focus on cataloging only those that are relevant. Through a concentrated effort, you’ll be more inclined to stay consistent and to maintain file organization.
Tip #3: Develop a file tagging taxonomy
Teams that start tagging without a plan can end up in the same sort of mess they started with. Adding tags on the fly results in inconsistent spelling, overlapping tag meanings, and irrelevant tags that just add to the file clutter.
When you create file tags make sure that they’re intuitive for those who will be looking for them.
For instance, when we’re searching for something on Google and aren’t familiar with the subject we’ll start with more generalized words and phrases. We scan the first 10 search results and realize that they’re too broad. We then consider ways to narrow the topic down to refine our search. Tagging works in the same way. At the top these tags may be broader, but then become specific. It’s important to provide granular level tagging so that our colleagues can find what they’re looking for straight away.
You can utilize photo management software like Digitile to put into place a framework and taxonomy that makes it easy for users to create tags, and make finding imagery quick.
Tip # 4: Tag thousands of images
Some companies run into difficulties when they expect one person to take on the responsibility of tagging thousands of files. Let’s be honest, that person has other things they need to do, and taking on this monumental task takes up a lot of time.
If you’ve already identified which folders and images you want to tag and have a tagging strategy, it makes it easier for multiple people to jump in and expedite the process.
To ensure team members don’t overlap in their efforts, follow a measured approach by assigning which folders each team member is responsible for tagging. You can also further break down the tagging process by having team members take on specific months or quarters, depending on the amount of content that needs to be tagged.
Tip # 5: Artificial intelligence is transforming image tagging
We recently had a co-founder of an online retailer share with us that finding good photo management software isn’t the hard part, but building the tagging process into the team’s workflow is the real challenge.
We get it. Tagging requires a commitment to make it pay off. But what doesn’t? We embrace new technology all the time with the hopes that it will automate and streamline what we do. In the case of image tagging, there may be a time investment upfront, but the returns in making searching and organizing images faster will pay off big for you and your team in the future.
Artificial intelligence can play an important role in reducing the time spent manually tagging. Image recognition technology can sort through even thousands of images and put them into categories by identifying specific content like objects, themes, colors, and the presence of people within them. We can then look at these results, and guided by our expertise attach contextual tags that will make these images even easier to find for our colleagues.
If you use Digitile for your photo management software you’ll get the power of AI-guided image recognition in automating the tagging process.
Tip # 6: Get everyone on board
When it comes to tags, there are two cohorts. There are the people responsible for creating, maintaining, and applying a system of tagging. And then there are those who will be using these tags to help them in getting their work done.
It’s important to get everyone on board. Find people from both sides to develop the initial tagging structure. Tags have to be intuitive and provide the context that will lead anyone to the right images, every time.
We know that the people responsible for tagging images are well versed in their respective libraries of assets and understand what they need to do to tag 1000s of files. At the same time, those who will be searching for files need to be trained in how to use tag filters to arrive at the search results they expect.
Tip # 7: Getting it right with tag governance
Governance provides the right safeguards in executing a successful tagging strategy.
It identifies who is responsible for the tag structure development and who will provide feedback.
Governance provides rules for who is responsible for setting and maintaining the tagging structure.
A schedule for reviewing the tagging system and the policies for adding, deleting, or merging tags as a business evolves can be instituted.
Tracking and measuring the effectiveness of tagging is an important facet of governance. For instance, a measure of success can be if searchers can find what they’re looking for within 10-15 seconds, or the first search results shown are used 90% of the time.
Digitile is the right tool for better image management
According to research by Cornell University and software company Qatalog, employees spend up to an hour each day simply searching for the information they require across different applications. Over time this can add up, and cause undue frustration.
Document tag management frees you and your team from this burden. Whatever system or tagging structure you adopt, the only way for it to work is for everyone to stay consistent in following it. Extend your small team’s digital media capabilities when creating, accelerating, and managing social promotions, and commerce platforms.
We’ve put together a powerful tool to help companies institute better tagging practices and to improve the way that they work. If you’re looking for automating and streamlining how you organize and find your images we hope you’ll choose Digitile.