What is BIMI, and Why Should Email Marketers Care?Reading Time: 5 minutes
Email marketers consistently hunt for better visibility and how to get their well-thought-out messages opened by their subscribers. After all, the average open rate for emails, no matter the industry, is 18%. Although there are no specialty tools that can guarantee such results (though, many claim to), there is another way you can stand out in your readers’ inbox besides great design, BIMI.
Implementing any new email standard comes a ton of questions, and that’s why we’ve created this guide to help get you up to speed on the latest updates to the email marketing world. Together, we’ll touch on BIMI, how to implement it, and why email marketers should care.
Let’s dive in!
What is BIMI?
If this term is new to you, it might sound like a new collection offered by Swedish brand, IKEA. On the contrary! BIMI stands for brand indicators for message identification. Some even call it DMARC 2.0. It is a standard that makes it easier for brands to have their logo displayed next to their email. Though it seems like a simple concept, it is yet another step toward better sender information verification. The AuthIndicators Working Group, also known as the BIMI group, created the new standard to answer two crucial challenges in the email industry: how can marketers protect email systems from malicious scams? And how can email providers display richer content and stand out in the inbox?
If you’re a seasoned email marketer, you know about standards like DMARC, DKIM, and SPF, which are all used to verify sender information. Think of BIMI as one of its siblings. It is a text record that lives inside of your server and works alongside the other email standards to verify your brand identity to email clients. In the human realm, these records would be the equivalent of your birth certificate, social security card, and driver’s license. Each is another layer of protection to prove further that you are indeed who you say you are.
The top benefit of the BIMI standard is better visibility, which in turn helps with conversion. But there are a host of other benefits that come with the email marketing industry adopting BIMI, including:
- Boosts brand recognition
- Prevents fraudulent emails
- Improves deliverability
- Enhances the subscriber experience
- Promotes trust in the brand
Brands with BIMI icons
Brand without BIMI icon
How Does BIMI Work?
BIMI is a text file that lives on your sending servers. On the outside, the process appears simple, but there’s so much more at work behind the scenes. It involves a multi-step vetting process that begins with having your source marked as trusted. Let us explain.
This is how BIMI works: When you send a customer an email, their email client searches for where BIMI file is hosted to verify the message. From there, it vets the file, ensuring that it matches with the registered brand. If it does, it shows the email client where to find the logo, and it pops up in the inbox next to the email.
Registering and implementing BIMI for your brand takes some work at first, as it requires a few steps. However, it’s well worth the peace of mind that stems from it. According to the BIMI Group, there are three parts to readying your brand for the BIMI pilot:
- Authenticate your organization’s emails with DMARC, SPF, and DKIM — ensure all are aligned.
- Having a DMARC record that features a “quarantine” or “reject” policy.
- Produce an SVG Tiny PS version of your official logo.
- Publish a BIMI record for your domain DNS.
Why Should Marketers Care?
Of course, you may be thinking to yourself, “a logo for my brand already populates in subscriber inboxes.” The truth is that you don’t have much control over what image they might choose. If your logo has gone through several evolutions, you risk email clients using the wrong one. That mix-up can have all sorts of negative impacts on your brand and how your customers view you. And besides, how do you go about righting those wrongs when you catch them?
With the BIMI standard, your brand has complete control over which logo gets used. As previously mentioned, it also cuts down on the number of fraudulent accounts trying to pose as your company. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that email scams are growing more and more sophisticated. In 2019 alone, they successfully targeted millions of people — businesses and individuals included, raking in a total of $3.5 billion. Many subscriber emails get compromised through phishing scams, malware, or business email compromising (BEC), which means email marketers have to get clever if they want to protect their email and email list. BIMI protects marketers and subscribers, making it one of many answers to scam attempts.
Additionally, BIMI leverages security updates and authenticity to a brand, helping them stand out. However, because BIMI is still in its infancy, the number of email clients that support this new email standard is limited, but other clients have slowly started to adopt BIMI. Seth Blank, the chairman of the BIMI group, shared in a release that early data from a pilot Yahoo! showed emails that displayed a BIMI logo had a 10% average increase in engagement. As of October 2020, the BIMI’s Adoption list includes:
- Verizon Media
- Comcast (BIMI planning)
- cz (BIMI planning)
The email marketing industry is constantly evolving. In many cases, it means more incredible things are on the horizon when cultivating immediate brand recognition and enhanced subscriber experience. Sometimes it can be challenging to stay informed, so we hope our breakdown gives you great insight. Although brand indicators for message identification (BIMI) is a new email standard, it can significantly impact on the way email marketers serve readers.
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Are you interested in partnering to create something great? If so, contact our team today, and let’s get in the kitchen.