BIMI – a new protocol for email marketing
Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) is a new email standard that allows brands to display their logos alongside their emails in recipient inboxes, increasing brand recognition and trust.
With the increasing amount of spam and phishing emails lately, people are becoming more cautious about opening emails from unknown or untrusted sources. BIMI provides a visual indicator to recipients that an email is from a legitimate brand, helping increase the likelihood that the email will be opened and trusted. Additionally, BIMI helps brands stand out in crowded inboxes, increasing their chances of being noticed and remembered by recipients. This can lead to increased engagement and conversions for the brand.
In this article, we aim to help you understand the underlying technologies that power BIMI and learn how BIMI can benefit your email strategy.
Summary of key BIMI concepts
BIMI builds on pre-existing technologies to work; we’ve summarized the principal technologies that BIMI relies upon in the table below. Each of these concepts also has its own separate article you can reference if you’d like to understand a given technology in more depth.
|Verified Mail Certificate (VMC)||A special cryptographic file proving that your domain is authorized to use the branded logo|
|DMARC||An authentication protocol for email that makes it harder for spammers to impersonate a domain|
|BIMI Logo||An SVG image file containing your organization’s branded logo|
|BIMI Record||A DNS record that tells email platforms where they can find your BIMI logo and VMC file|
BIMI builds on numerous underlying technologies, as we saw in the summary. Before we dive deeper into the technical nitty-gritty, let’s look at how BIMI actually helps you.
What BIMI does
The essential feature of BIMI is putting your branded logo next to emails in recipients’ inboxes. However, BIMI enhances the user experience in two principal ways:
- Branded logos in the inbox: BIMI allows brands to display their logos next to emails in the recipient’s inbox, providing a visual cue that makes it easier for the recipient to identify and trust the email.
- Improved email recognition: By making it easier to identify legitimate emails from a particular brand, BIMI helps reduce the risk of users mistaking spam or phishing emails for legitimate emails, improving the overall email recognition experience.
How it works
BIMI works through a combination of email authentication and a special record that’s added to the brand’s domain.
The email authentication part is pretty straightforward: It just makes sure that the email is coming from a legitimate source and not some spammer trying to impersonate the brand. To accomplish this, BIMI requires that you set up DMARC.
The special record, known as a BIMI record, is what actually makes the logo appear in the inbox. It’s kind of like a secret handshake between the email client (e. g., Gmail) and the brand’s domain that says: “Hey, this email is really from [Brand X], which is authorized to display its logo.” The BIMI record contains information about where the logo can be found and how it should be displayed.
When an email from the brand arrives in the recipient’s inbox, the email client looks for the BIMI record and uses the information it contains to display the logo. Voila! The brand’s logo is now displayed in the inbox, making it easier for the recipient to identify and trust the email.
All in all, BIMI is a simple but powerful way for brands to stand out in crowded inboxes and increase trust with their subscribers.
Now that we’ve defined what BIMI is and what it does, let’s explore some best practices you can adhere to. These tips will enable you to get the most out of BIMI while avoiding common pitfalls.
Complying with BIMI requirements
When deploying BIMI, it’s essential to be very mindful to adhere to requirements that most platforms have in place. Let’s look at some of the most critical requirements for complying with BIMI:
- Validate your domain with DMARC: To comply with BIMI requirements, it’s important to validate your domain with DMARC, an email authentication protocol. This helps to verify that emails from your domain are coming from a legitimate source and not an imposter.
- Meet logo file requirements: To ensure that your logo displays properly in the recipient’s inbox, it’s important to meet the logo file requirements, such as file format and size. You can learn more about BIMI logo requirements from the BIMI Group’s page on creating BIMI SVG logo files.
- Follow best practices for email design and delivery: To ensure that your emails are delivered to the recipient’s inbox and not marked as spam, it’s important to follow best practices for email design and delivery, such as using a reputable email service provider and following email marketing best practices.
By following these recommendations, you can comply with BIMI requirements and enjoy the benefits of increased brand recognition, improved email deliverability, and increased engagement and conversions.
Automating BIMI with Amplify
Automating BIMI with Amplify can help brands simplify the implementation process, improve efficiency and accuracy, and provide valuable insights for ongoing optimization. Given the complexity of acquiring a VMC, deploying a valid BIMI record, and other technical details, you can make the process much less error-prone by relying on an external service like Amplify.
Some benefits of automation for BIMI (compared to manual deployment and maintenance by human engineers) include the following:
- Fewer errors
- A partnership with DigiCert to facilitate the VMC process
- Freeing up your security staff
- Staying up to date automatically as the protocol evolves
Tasking your security team with manually managing BIMI is tedious and expensive. Fortunately, automated services exist to do it for you.
BIMI works by verifying the authenticity of emails from a particular domain, allowing the recipient’s email client to display the brand’s logo next to the email. To get the most out of BIMI, it’s important for brands to ensure that their email infrastructure is properly set up and that it meets the BIMI standards.
Additionally, brands should focus on maintaining a strong reputation for sending legitimate, high-quality emails to their subscribers, as this will have a positive impact on their BIMI results. By taking advantage of BIMI, brands can improve the visibility and trust of their emails, increase engagement, and ultimately drive better business results.
Subscribe to our LinkedIn Newsletter to receive more educational contentSubscribe now