What is BIMI and why is it important?

What is BIMI and why is it important?

What is BIMI?  

Nobody wants their inboxes to be flooded with spam or unwanted emails. To combat this, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are email authentication methods that most businesses employ to inform their recipients that the emails they receive are legitimate and trustworthy.

BIMI , or Brand Indicators for Message Identification , is an email specification that adds an extra layer of protection by authenticating email messages and declaring them to be from legitimate email senders. BIMI extends the security provided by the DMARC protocol by branding your emails with your logo, so that receivers can readily identify your emails while being reassured about the source and validity of the message.
BIMI can be implemented and the brand logos will be displayed only if the DMARC checks passes successfully, proving the email domain is valid.

Look at the image below to understand how your emails will be displayed in your recipient's mailboxes once you've implemented BIMI.

Does BIMI affect email marketing?  

BIMI has a positive impact on email deliverability. It is believed to generate a good face in terms of email marketing because it is an authentication approach that earns the trust of email recipients. Listed below are some of the benefits of BIMI for your organization:
  1. Increases brand recognition - With BIMI, your brand's logo will appear alongside your email in a recipient's inbox. The use of a logo in the email boosts visibility and allows recipients to quickly recognise your organization. As a result, your brand will have a high level of market recognition.  
  2. Increases email engagement - Since this authentication technique exudes trustworthiness, recipients are more likely to interact with the email, resulting in higher open and click rates.
  3. Lowers chances of getting spam trapped - Employing BIMI is a good indicator that indicates lesser email bounces and a decreased likelihood of your emails being trapped in the spam folder.
  4. Builds sender reputation - Organizations who use BIMI are one step closer to improving their sender reputation. BIMI ensures that firms gain the trust of their recipients, resulting in a positive reputation in the email marketing industry. 

How does BIMI work?  

BIMI essentially relies on DMARC to accomplish its work. It encourages organizations to set their DMARC protocol to the highest level, bringing their brand logo into the inbox of recipients. In order for a BIMI to operate, an organization's DMARC checks must pass, thus displaying the brand's logo alongside the email. Learn more about DMARC

DMARC has three policies:
  1. p = none - This policy specifies that if the email fails DMARC, there will be no check and mailbox providers will be free to decide what to do with the email.
  2. p = quarantine  - This policy states that if an email fails the DMARC check, mailbox providers must treat it with caution and quarantine it.
  3. p = reject - According to this policy, if an email fails the DMARC check, mailbox providers must reject or block the email from being delivered. 
As you can see from the explanation above, organizations configuring DMARC with a p = none policy do not serve the purpose of providing this authentication technique. For BIMI to work, organizations must configure DMARC with p = quarantine at 100% or p = reject. If the email passes a DMARC authentication check, it signifies it was sent by a legitimate sender, and the brand logo will appear alongside the email in the recipient's inbox.

How to set up BIMI for your organization  

Now that we've covered how BIMI works, let's learn how to set up BIMI for your organization.

BIMI is a text record that needs to be added to your domain's DNS. The authentication process acts similarly to other methods like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. When an email is delivered, the receiving email server will look up the BIMI text file and verify its source. If verified, the receiving server will pull the brand logo from the BIMI file and place it in the recipient inbox. Learn how to implement BIMI in this article .

To setup BIMI:
  1. First, authenticate all your email domains with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
  2. Ensure that you've setup DMARC as p = quarantine at 100% or p = reject for your domain.
  3. Create and upload a SVG tiny version of your logo to a publicly accessible server.
  4. Setup VMC for your logo.
  5. Publish the BIMI text record to the DNS server.

BIMI tips and tricks  

  1. Make sure your domains are authenticated properly. You can use any DMARC checker tools available online, such as DMARC inspector or DMARC analyzer .
  2. Ensure you've followed the correct format to create your brand logo. Use SVG conversion tools to check if the logo is in the proper format.
  3. A Verified Mark Certificate (VMC) must be acquired from an accredited organization like DigiCert or Entrust .
  4. You can check your brand's compliance with BIMI standard or generate a new BIMI record with the BIMI lookup tool .
  5. Read the BIMI implementation guide for more information while setting up BIMI for your organization.
  6. In case you face any hurdles while implementing BIMI, read the BIMI FAQ page to get more help.

Mailbox providers that support BIMI 

Listed below are the various mailbox providers who support BIMI as of September 2022:
  1. Cloudmark
  1. Gmail
  1. Google Workspace
  1. Yahoo(excluding Yahoo Japan)
  1. AOL
  1. Netscape
  1. Apple
  1. Fastmail
  1. Pobox
  1. Laposte
  1. Zone
Click on the link of an image below from BIMI  to know which mailbox providers support BIMI, those that are considering BIMI and those that do not support BIMI.

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