In Episode #7 of Agency Toolbox, we dive into the cloud storage debate and answer the question: "should I use Google Drive or Dropbox? What's the best file management solution for my marketing agency?"
I'm a co-founder of a 5-year old marketing agency, GuavaBox, that started with Dropbox, flip-flopped, used both concurrently, and finally switched over to Google Drive. I wanted to share that information with you as a frame of reference. I've also used the free versions of both tools for a couple years, and paid for both tools (I've been a Dropbox Pro user for 3+ years, and a Google Drive paid user for about 8 months as of October, 2015).
WIth that background in place, let's get into the debate.
Google Drive vs. Dropbox Review:
The Best Cloud Storage Solution for Marketing Agencies:
To be clear, cloud storage and online file manage is one of those areas where the technology is advanced enough that there isn't really a bad choice between the industry leaders. Drive, Dropbox, Box, and several others make uploading, managing, editing, categorizing, sharing, and syncing files very easy.
Both Dropbox and Google Drive allow you to quickly upload and download files, create and manage folder systems, share individual items and entire folders, sync files to as many devices as you need using desktop and mobile apps, track revisions (to some level), and integrate with a wide range of other applications.
The big differences come when you look at the finer details and figure out the best file management tool for your agency.
Dropbox vs. Google Drive: Pros and Cons
Superior selective sync: both tools allow you to sync certain files or folders. Dropbox is superior here, however, because you can choose to sync or not sync any combination of folders, sub-folders, and files. Google Drive, on the other hand, only allows you to selectively sync parent folders. That means that you'll either wind up with a lot of top-level folders, or you'll sync a ton of files to your computer.
Better desktop app (OS X): this is largely based on preference and device, but if your an OS X user, the Dropbox app is super clean and easy to use. Google Drive has come a long way, but Dropbox still has advantages like the built-in camera uploader and the ability to create sharable links for screenshots right away. That saves you ton of times when working through design-related work (like mockups) with your team.
Stability track record: Both tools are rarely down, but it's worth noting that Dropbox has the better track record here.
Google Drive Pros:
Simultaneous editing for collaborative files: this is the most significant area of differential in most use cases. Google Drive comes with a built-in suite of apps that make real-time collaboration between multiple team members on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations a breeze. No more overwriting your team members updates to an important document, this is a big advantage for Google Drive - especially in many marketing agencies.
Better integrations: this is debatable as both tools have a great set of integrations. What sets Drive apart in my mind is that you get the integrations of Drive, plus the integrations of Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides if you adopt those tools (and if you're using Google Drive, why wouldn't you be?). If you're only dealing with Word, Powerpoint, and Excel documents that you can't convert, this becomes a wash.
Budget-friendly: the benefits for the cost make either tool worth the money, but if you're a real penny-pincher and can't decide for any other reason, go with Google Drive. It's about 4-5X less expensive at the time of this writing to pay for Google Drive's upgraded plan than to pay for Dropbox.
The Cloud Storage Verdict
We've shifted our agency over to Google Drive. I still love Dropbox, but the real-time collaboration is a big benefit for our team and clients. It's simplified meetings, project management, strategic planning, and it's helped us make every interaction very accessible for the entire team.
In the next episode of Agency Toolbox, I'll walk you through our folder structure that we use to manage our agency inside Google Drive. Don't miss it!
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