Canto alternatives: which DAM should you pick?

If you’ve been doing your research, no doubt you’ve seen Canto pop up around the web.  It’s a popular digital asset management (DAM) system used by large companies wanting to manage their digital assets.

But is Canto the right tool for you and your business? If you’re a small or growing brand, you’ll need a DAM solution that’ll let you organise and share your marketing content without breaking the bank. And like most digital asset management software providers, Canto doesn’t show pricing on their website. 

So we thought we’d shed some light. 🙌 

Our Canto comparison guide will detail the system’s pros and cons, give you an idea on pricing, and show you how it stacks up against other DAMs (including our very own Dash). 

By the end, we hope it helps you decide whether Canto is the right tool for your growing brand.

Canto’s pros and cons 

Let’s start by looking at some of Canto’s pros and cons. We’ll go into a little more detail when we compare Canto against Dash (further on in the article), but this gives you a summary if you don’t have time to read the entire article. 

Canto’s pros

Canto has several promising features ideal for big businesses who need to manage their marketing assets. Here are some things that Canto does well: 

  • Serves a wide range of industries: From healthcare and manufacturing to travel and education, you can browse Canto’s website and see which industry aligns with your brand. This will help you know whether it’s a good fit for your business. 

    Bear in mind that more is not necessarily better. If you’re a small and growing ecommerce brand, you might want to take a look at DAMs that are better focused on your industry (like Dash 😇). 

  • Detailed reporting: Canto’s reporting feature seems impressive. You can compare assets against each other and view the top keywords and search terms in your DAM. This shows how your teams are using the system and whether there’s any training that needs to be done. This is ideal if you’re an enterprise with teams all around the world, otherwise you’ll probably be okay with a more simplified reporting system. 

  • Style and branding guides: Canto has a branding suite that lets you customise a style guide directly from your DAM. You can add your colours and typography so your teams and external contributors can easily access approved branding. 

  • Facial recognition:  Canto uses facial recognition technology to remember the people in your photos. Whilst this is a great feature, we believe it’s risky. After data privacy warnings about facial recognition in the news, we decided to remove this feature from Dash to protect our customers. However, if facial recognition is a dealbreaker for you, Canto may be the right tool for your business. 

Canto’s cons 

With any research into a new product, it’s important to take a look at the drawbacks too. Here are some of Canto’s: 

  • Clunky interface: Many of Canto’s customers complain that the user interface is clunky and complicated to use. The look of the platform also isn’t very inspiring (we’ll show you an example later on). Just remember: this is where you’re storing all your creative assets. Your DAM should do them justice and make you and your team feel inspired every time you log in to the system. 
  • A big learning curve: As a result of the interface, customers report that it can take a little while to get to grips with the system. Canto does offer onboarding, but it can take several hours to complete - not ideal if you want to get started quickly or if you’re a small team with little time on your hands.  

  • Unclear and expensive pricing: Like most DAMs (except Dash) it’s unclear how much Canto will set you back every month. Some websites suggest it’s likely to set you back about $600 a month ($7200 a year), but you’ll need to get in touch if you want to find out for sure. 

Canto alternatives 

Not yet sure whether Canto is for you? Take a look at these Canto competitors and alternatives to see what else is on the market.  

Dash - for SMBs and growing brands

If you’re a small and growing business, Dash should be your DAM of choice. We’ve built Dash for small businesses, so you know you’re going to get the features, usability and integrations that best suit your needs. It’s also super affordable, with a starting price of £79 / $109 a month for all features and unlimited users. 

Take a look at our digital asset management guide for small businesses if you’d like to find out more. ✨(Or keep scrolling and read our direct Dash vs Canto comparison). 

Brandfolder - for enterprise brands 

Brandfolder is an enterprise-level DAM through-and-through. They’re used by big-named brands like Slack, Mastercard and McLaren. As well as the standard DAM features, you can send assets directly to your printer. They also support content creation by providing design templates within the app. They’re expensive - costing about $1,600 to get started - so this is only feasible if you’ve got the money to spend. 

Bynder - an alternative to Brandfolder for enterprise brands 

Bynder is another digital asset management tool that’s ideal for enterprise businesses. It’s one of the most well-known DAM systems on the market and is used by brands like Zendesk and Boohoo. Bynder is especially useful if you’re a large company who needs to deploy digital media files to locations all over the world. For a basic package, Bynder will set you back around $450 a month. 

Take a look at Barney's post for a full comparison of Bynder

Photoshelter - for your creative workflows 

Often compared to Canto, Photoshelter is another DAM tool that’s built for enterprise businesses. Their mission is to help you with your brand storytelling, so they’ve put particular focus on building creative workflows. However, some customer reviews suggest they are pricey, especially when it comes to giving new users access to basic DAM functions. 


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Dash vs Canto: which is better for your small business? 

How does Canto compare to our very own digital asset management platform, Dash? Let’s take a look. 👀👇

Canto vs Dash: features 

Dash and Canto are pretty neck-and-neck when it comes to the list of features. Both have the same core DAM functionality that you’d expect from a digital asset management solution. That includes keyword search, multiple ways to share assets and the ability to set user permissions. You can check out G2’s comparison grid to see how each DAM compares according to its customers. You’ll see that both are very similar, with Dash scoring slightly higher on all categories. 

One area that Dash particularly excels in is how easy it is to search for your digital files. We encourage our customers to use tags and fields to categorise their assets. This way, it’s super quick to find them again in the future. Just have a look at what Theo, from Goodrays, has to say about it: 

“The whole tagging system is great! I’ll upload a picture of one of our oils and add a text tag for ‘oils’ - and then when I search for that in the search bar, all the pics of our oils appear. I don’t have to dredge through 50 different folders!”

It’s also worth noting that you’ll get access to all of Dash’s features from day one. Even if you’re on our lowest price plan (£49 / $59 a month), you’ll get the same features and functionality as someone on a higher tier. 

Canto vs Dash: user interface 

When it comes to the usability and look of your DAM, you should expect something that does your visual content justice. You wouldn’t present your holiday pics in an old, tattered and poorly laid out photo album, would you? So why compromise when it comes to your brand’s digital assets, too?

A quick search on G2 shows me that Canto’s user interface is not their strongest feature. Customers are saying that it’s ‘clunky’ and hard to navigate. This may be okay for people who are using the DAM regularly, but as this customer points out, it’s not ideal for users who only need to grab assets every now and then: 

“The UI is confusing. A lot of buttons don't have labels and unclear icons…The portals take a long time to update when you make changes. The main organization page looks overwhelming to new users and the default view is sorting by newest assets.”

But aesthetics are subjective, right? Here’s an official screenshot from Canto’s G2 profile so you can make your own mind up. 

Canto's user interface

Now let’s compare it with Dash. 

G2 has ranked Dash as the number #1 easiest-to-use DAM, compared to Canto which ranked 5th place.

Our goal is to make digital asset management super simple for small brands, so we’ve deliberately designed the interface to be clean and intuitive. You can easily get started without the need for lengthy onboarding calls. 

Here’s what a Dash homepage looks like for our fake houseplant brand, Planto: 

Dash's user interface

Dash lets your beautiful brand assets do the talkin’. Having them front and centre brings your brand to life and encourages your team members to jump straight in. It doesn’t just look good, but helps you make the most of those assets you’ve spent time and money creating and sourcing. Just see what one of our customers, Forthglade, has to say: 

“For the cost, Dash is really competitive. We’ve got people in the business who haven’t used a DAM system before, so Dash’s simple usability and UX was a major selling point. It meant it was really easy to get everyone using the system quickly and effectively.”

Now that you’ve compared Canto and Dash’s interface side-by-side, we’ll leave it to you to decide which you prefer. 😇

Canto vs Dash: pricing 

If there’s one thing that’s lacking in the digital asset management industry, it’s transparent pricing.
And yes, Canto is yet another DAM that doesn’t offer clear pricing on its website. Supposedly it has the “simplest pricing model” on the market, yet you have to fill out a form and talk to an employee if you want to find out how much it’s going to cost. 

Some websites suggest Canto will set you back about $600 a month ($7200 a year). And G2 reviews suggest that Canto is a little pricey for the quality of the product

Luckily, it couldn’t be easier to see how much you’ll need to set aside for Dash. 

Dash pricing starts at £79/$109 a month. You get all features as standard along with unlimited users. Your subscription fee will only increase if you decide to add more assets or increase the number of monthly downloads. We’ve priced our DAM with small businesses in mind, which means you don’t have to fork out for an enterprise solution if you want a good system. 

Better yet, Dash has the best ROI for small and growing businesses. So it'll be an easier sell to your boss. 😇

Canto vs Dash: integrations 

Canto has more native integrations than Dash. However, it’s worth considering the type of integration you need as Dash has a few that Canto’s missing (and vice versa). 

First, let’s look at some similarities. Both tools have the following integrations: 

  • Adobe Creative Cloud (includes Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator) 
  • Google Drive 
  • Figma 
  • WordPress 
  • Box 
  • Canva 
  • Hootsuite 
  • Zapier 

Here are some tools that only Canto integrates with: 

  • Mailchimp 
  • Monday
  • Outlook 

And some tools that only Dash integrates with: 

  • Shopify 
  • SharePoint 
  • Asana 
  • Sketch
  • Dropbox 

Canto vs Dash: onboarding

 Getting up and running with your new DAM is important in helping you get the most out of it. 
At Dash, it’s super easy to get started. Our onboarding team will help you migrate your assets from Google Drive, Dropbox or another DAM system for free. And we can set up a training session with your team to show you how the system works.

Canto’s onboarding looks pretty straightforward according to G2 reviews. In fact, many customers encourage you to make the most of it because the interface, once you start using it, can be clunky and complicated. 

Canto vs Dash: customer support 

Dash is consistently rated highly for its level of customer support, and recently won the DAM that customers have the best relationship with. Just take a look at this review. 🥰

“Dash is a superior service not just because of what the platform offers, but for the customer service. The team are always willing to assist and is always eager to improve Dash, and is continually looking at ways to make Dash even stronger. Would highly recommend it.”

If you want to get in contact with us, all you’ll need to do is send us a message directly via the app and a real person will get back to you. And if you have any ideas on feature enhancements or new functionality, you can drop your thoughts in our feedback portal. If lots of people vote on it, we’ll take it into our product roadmap. 

Canto also rates well for customer service - they get a 4.6 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot.

Picking the right DAM for your growing brand 

After taking in all of the above, we hope you have a better idea of what DAM will work best for your business. One thing to remember is that you don’t have to fork out for an expensive DAM. There are software products, like Dash, that can be the single source of truth for your assets and offer all the features you need, without the price tag.  In fact, Dash has been designed with small businesses in mind, so you know you’ll get everything that you need. 

If you want a more visual way to compare different tools on the market, take a look at our DAM comparison worksheet

Finally, if you think Dash might be the one for you, you can take a 14-day free trial (no credit card required). ✨

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