Organizing Your Image Library via Descriptive Tagging to Find Images Lightning Fast

March 11, 2012 12 Comments by Tom Fang

If you’ve been in the marketing game for quite some time, you’ve probably built up a huge image library over time.  As this collection gets bigger and bigger, it becomes very difficult to find the images that you need when you need them.

Personally, I have a very specific system of organizing my own images.  Each unique image is assigned a serial number.  That serial number’s purpose is so I can use it in click-through URL’s and keywords in order to track its performance across multiple campaigns. This way, I can see what images have performed the best across my entire portfolio as well.

In addition to assigning serial numbers to file names, I also utilize the power of descriptive tagging to categorize the images.  For example, if I wanted to find Latin men, I am able to filter out only the images that I have previously tagged as Latin men.  This eliminates so much wasted time in trying to locate the correct folder, if that’s how you’re organizing images currently.

The tool I use to tag and organize my images is Windows Photo Gallery.  I’m sure there are a ton of similar free tools for both Windows and Mac, but I’ve found this to be adequate.  Here’s a video on how I use it:

Organizing Images via Tagging

When tagging images, I have 3 must-have tags.  These are tags that I put on every applicable image because these tags should be universal when it comes to images of people.  Obviously, this doesn’t apply to animals and everything else.

  1. Age.  I have 3 categories that I use to identify age: young, middle age, mature.
  2. Gender.  Pretty straightforward: either male or female.
  3. Ethnicity.  It’s important to tag by ethnicity for future campaigns that target specific niches.  Sometimes I input multiple ethnicity tags if the person can pass for multiple ones.

Outside of the 3 must-have tags, it’s always better to include as much of the special attributes of the image as possible.  If the person has tattoos, is a Christian, is a hipster, is muscular, has a uniform, or anything else that you may want to search by, I will include those in the tag.  Just make sure to keep your descriptions consistent and not use “single dad” for one image and “single dads” for another.

You can spend a lot of time thinking of tags for each image.  Don’t burn your time here.  Do the best you can quickly and move on to the next image.  If you already have a huge catalog, it might be worth it to come up with a list of tags you want applied to the images and outsource the tagging on oDesk.

Do you have your own tips and tricks for organizing images and other digital media?

  • http://Website Chester

    VERY informative post. I’ve been struggling to organize my images as my library got bigger. Love the serial coding idea. This came just in time!

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Tom Fang

      Thanks! Glad it helped

  • CoreyBornmann

    Super useful post Tom. I gotta dig into my photo archive and start cataloging.

    ~ Corey

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Tom Fang

      Thanks Corey!  It’s one of those things where you’re like why didn’t I do that before?

  • http://www.facebook.com/maxgrif Max Griffin

    Anyone recommend a similar tool for Mac?

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Tom Fang

      I think iPhoto or Flickery should work for the tagging mechanism.  Not positive though.

  • Mike

    Hi Tom

    Do you also tag the performance of the image, so perhaps a +.01% tag and a +.015% tag etc.

    Could you please expand how you use the image serial number and the click thru link.

    Finally, if you source a whole lot of images do you use a program to rename them in bulk in sequence as I gather it takes too long doing it one by one.

    Thanks
    Mike

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Tom Fang

      Checkout Flash Renamer for renaming stuff in batch.

      I don’t associate CTR in the tag since that changes all the time.  It would be cool to have something that does that dynamically though.

      What I do now is I assign a serial number to images and when I use that image, I pass through that number in the tracking code.

      So then I am able to track that image’s performance, and I have a table that shows the image performances for a particular traffic source, allowing me to see which ones are performing the best.

    • Mike

       Hi Tom

      How do you assign the serial number to the images in the tracking code?

      I was thinking of using the subid in Mr green’s uploader so when uploading a folder of ten images I could rename them with a number say 100 -110 & then start the subid count from 100. 

      But if you use 2 titles it creates 2 x the ads so you will get the same image with 2 different file names? I suppose you could do a separate upload for each title / description test but that defeats the purpose of using an uploader.  I was hoping I could create a tracking link that specifies the image, title & description used.  Is this possible?

      Thanks
      Mike

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Tom Fang

      I’m not sure I follow.  I personally don’t use Mr Green’s uploader.

      I mean you can make the tracking code however you want.  You can put anything in there.  Just have a code for whatever you want to track.  If you want to track images, then put a code in there that identifies which image was used.

    • Mike

       How do you do campaigns do you just manually upload creatives via the pof bulk uploader?

      My issue (unless i am using it wrong) with Mr Greens uploader is that it automatically generates the tracking link for each ad based off one you input.  As far as I can tell it just ads a number on the end to make each link unique.  So if I have 3 images and 2 headings it creates 6 ads numbered 1-6, even though the images have been used twice.  So you can’t identify how an individual image has performed just an ad.

    • http://www.ipyxel.com/ Tom Fang

      We use programs that we develop internally.  But before that, we did things manually in the beginning and then started using uBot to create uploading sequences.

      We are now working on a platform solution for all this for POF set to be in beta in the next couple months.  Until then, I would do the best you can with the tools available.