By: Wael Elasady
Act-On Deliverability Consultant
What is BIMI:
BIMI, or Brand Indicators for Message Identification, is a new standard which provides and easy and uniform method for companies to get their logos displayed next to the email messages they send to their subscribers.
BIMI is being driven by the AuthIndicators Working Group, which includes Verizon Group (Yahoo, AOL), Comcast, ReturnPath, LinkedIn, Paypal and most recently Google. This means it now has buy in from all the major players in the email world outside of Microsoft (which has its own version called Business profiles). Yahoo is currently testing it and is the only provider actually supporting BIMI, Gmail plans to start supporting BIMI in 2020.
Source: Email on Acid
Why BIMI Matters:
- More Brand Awareness: If implemented your logo will now be consistently broadcast to your subscribers every time your messages arrive in their inbox.
- More Trust in senders emails and email as a medium in general: BIMI displays your brand’s logo through your Domain’s DNS settings which ensures that only the company which owns the corresponding sending domain may display that brand’s logo ( in the future the logo will also need to be vetted through a certification provider, adding another layer of protection). Additionally, recipient servers will only display the logo on messages passing DMARC authentication and for senders which have a good reputation. This means BIMI will help distinguish legitimate messages from trusted brands from dangerous phishing, spoofing, or fraudulent emails.
- More Email Engagement- Additional brand recognition and increased trust in who is sending emails and conversely the content of those emails, should result in a boost in open and click rates for those implementing BIMI.
- Still in Early Stage- With that said, BIMI is only live at Yahoo. Gmail plans to begin beta testing in 2020. So this is something that is worth taking into account if you are thinking of implementing BIMI. The potential benefits, in the short term at least, are still not widely applicable.
How Does BIMI Work:
Recipient mail servers will look at the DNS record of the sending entities domain to see if they have a BIMI DNS entry. If they do, that entry will provide the recipient mail servers a URL link to the logo of the brand in question to be displayed next to the message in the inbox. In addition, for the BIMI logo to appear, the sender has to pass DMARC authentication and have a “good sender reputation” at the recipient ISP.
Can You Deploy BIMI at Act-On:
Yes, the standard deployment of BIMI (One Logo connected to One Sending Domain*) does not rely on any settings in your Act-On Platform. Instead, BIMI like SPF and DKIM authentication relies on an entry in your Domain's DNS.
What is needed to deploy BIMI:
- The Logo must be in .SVG format.
- The Logo must be exact square
- The Logo should be centered and legible - it should not contain a tagline (text below the logo)
- Logo .SVG file must be hosted on SSL secured site and will be used in the BIMI DNS Record ie: https://images.example.com/somedir/logo.svghttps://images.example.com/somedir/logo.svg
BIMI DNS Record (required)
- TXT record type
- BIMI Record must be setup on the From Email Address Domain .
- Example: default._bimi.yourdomain.com
- The BIMI Record must have the following syntax for the values in the TXT record
v=BIMI1; l=https://images.example.com/image/logo.svg; a=cert;
v = Version: the value is always BIMI1. (Required)
l = Location: the URL of your logo using HTTPS only. (Required)
a = Trust authorities: trust certificate to validate domain ownership. (Optional for now)
Domain must be authenticated (required)
- Sender must have a DMARC policy which passes with DMARC at p=quarantine or p=reject
- Please Note Implementing DMARC incorrectly will cause messages to bounce. Please evaluate these decisions carefully before proceeding.
Good Sending Reputation
- While this requirement of BIMI is not clearly defined, it does appear to mean that you must have a good reputation at the recipient provider you are trying to deliver mail to. For example, if your email is reaching the Spam Box , then your logo will likely not display even if you have BIMI deployed.
Verified Mark Certificate (optional, for now)
- Certificate to verify that Logo is owned by Domain publishing record.
- Clients will have to go to authorized vendors who can issue these certificates, like Entrust Datacard.
- They will provide the client with a value that can go in the "a=<certificate>" component of the BIMI record
- While this is currently not a requirement to implement BIMI and "a=" can remain blank, the expectation is that it will be a requirement in the future, to ensure copy cat logos are not created to fool end users.
Should Our Company Implement BIMI:
This is a business decision that your company should consider carefully. While we can't make that decision for you, we can help you be informed.
- Studies show that Brand Recognition, which is increased by BIMI implementation, is the top reasons that end users decide to open an email!
- BIMI is gaining steam and has the backing of the largest players in the field. This means it is likely to become a widely used standard in the next few years.
- With that said, currently only Yahoo! is supporting BIMI and deployment is not widespread. If Gmail begins to deploy it in 2020 as it has announced it will, that is when we can expect it to take really off!
- DMARC Authentication which is a pre-requesite of deploying BIMI is a process which does require a not insignificant amount of resources and testing. So if you are considering BIMI deployment, you may want to first begin by investigating DMARC Authentication for your domain.
*BIMI also allows multiple logos to be assigned to one domain. This type of BIMI implementation is not able to be implemented at Act-On out of the box. Please contact us if you have questions about this type of implementation.
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