With phishing, spoofing, and fraudulent emails on the rise, recipients are increasingly suspicious of messages in their inbox. They have good reason to be. 60% of Americans claim they or a family member have been scam victims. That’s enough to make just about anyone paranoid.
To add another layer of email protection (and to build brand visibility), businesses can jump on a new standard known as BIMI. While BIMI is still in its infancy (Yahoo! Mail is the only current adopter), it promises to take consumer confidence to the next level. And that’s better for everyone, right?
What Is BIMI?
BIMI stands for Brand Indicators for Message Identification. It’s a standard that attaches your brand’s logo to your authenticated email messages. With this simple, visual verification, recipients can recognize and trust the messages you send.
But if you already have SPF, DMARC, and DKIM, why do you need BIMI? Good question. Let’s take a high-level look at each to pinpoint the key nuances:
- BIMI: Adds your logo to your emails in the inbox so subscribers can quickly identify your messages and trust they’re from you.
- SPF: Authenticates your email to identify the mail servers that are allowed to send email from a particular domain.
- DKIM: Adds a digital signature to emails to verify to inbox providers that your domain sent the message and you’re responsible for the content of the message.
- DMARC: Specifies to inbox providers how to handle emails that aren’t authenticated using SPF or DKIM.
Looking at this list of verification methods, BIMI is the only visual clue a typical email user can use to identify a message’s source and authenticity.
What Does BIMI Mean for You?
BIMI can help recipients recognize and trust your brand in the inbox. This trust leads to fewer unsubscribes and spam complaints, which can play a big part in boosting your deliverability.
On top of that, you get another layer of protection against phishers and spoofers trying to impersonate your brand. Without the standard accompanying logo, recipients will be wary of messages claiming to be you. And when BIMI becomes more widely adopted, spam and phish (in general) will be even more obvious because it’ll lack credible, recognizable logos.
Lastly, BIMI allows you to market your brand without even getting an open. That’s right. Sometimes recipients are busy, and your subject line might not be compelling enough to click on at the moment—regardless, your recipients will connect your sender address, subject line, and preheader text with your logo, helping further build your brand.
How Does BIMI Work?
BIMI is a text record that lives on your sending servers—in your DNS records. Agari, one of the email security companies that make up BIMI’s working group, details the process for publishing your BIMI record here.
After your message is delivered, your recipient’s inbox provider retrieves your BIMI text record using a DNS lookup. This BIMI text record contains the location of your company’s logo.
To choose the logo you want to be displayed, store your image in HTTPS and enter the URL in the DNS TXT record. Note: only square SVG images without text will be accepted.
Once the provider finds your image, it’ll attach that image to your message in the inbox. And voilà—let the email security and brand email marketing win-win begin!
BIMI’s Impact on Deliverability
Adding a BIMI record to your email program isn’t going to promise you 100% deliverability rates. Sorry. But it can help.
For mailbox providers who do support BIMI (which is only Yahoo! at the moment), BIMI will add an extra layer of authenticity to your messages, improving the chance they’ll deliver your email. In addition, subscribers will be more likely to recognize your brand, decreasing the chances they’ll mark it as spam.
How to Prepare for BIMI
BIMI is still new, and only Yahoo! Mail has officially adopted the technology. Google did announce that Gmail will be piloting BIMI in 2020, but it’s far from mainstream yet.
The BIMI verification method will most likely be manual (in the early stages), so you’ll have a better chance of getting your brand logo uploaded and approved now instead of later. When it’s more widely adopted and everyone’s trying to get their logo approved, the process may take longer.
In the meantime, go ahead and make sure your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are all set up and ready to go. Also, ensure you have a good sender reputation by following all the email best practices.
To get all elements of your program up to snuff, download our latest email deliverability guide—it’s chockfull of everything you need to know to become a full-fledged legit email sender.