BIMI Authentication For Email: Just The Facts

October 31, 2019 Sarah Cavill

When it comes to email marketing, open rates are the holy grail for marketers. And while there isn’t just one path to getting the desired results, Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) can increase brand awareness and trust, making your email message an inbox stand-out.

How Is BIMI Different Than Current Email Authentication Standards?

example inbox BIMI in action

There are already quite a few methods in place to verify emails, including DMARC which authenticates the domain sending an email and which will work with BIMI. BIMI is different than DMARC and other email authentication standards because it enables email inboxes to display logos (see image) for authenticated emails. The logo offers immediate brand recognition and, ideally, leads to higher open rates. Yahoo! Mail is in the midst of running a BIMI pilot, and Google is planning a trial run in 2020.

How Does BIMI Work?

BIMI is a text file. Litmus.com explains, “When a message is delivered, the recipient’s email service looks up the BIMI text file – and where it’s hosted – to ensure that the message can be verified. Once verified, the BIMI file tells the email service where to find the sender’s logo and the email service pulls that logo into the inbox.”

As Yahoo! is the only email client running a BIMI test at this time, it is also the only service able to provide support for BIMI. Getting started with BIMI, with such a narrow deployment, probably offers limited returns, particularly since BIMI requires a number of authentication and file standards established prior to setting it up for your brand. However, Martech anticipates BIMI will become a new standard for high-volume senders at some point.

What Is A Verified Mark Certificate (VMC)?

Recently, identity and encryption provider DigiCert issued CNN the first VMC, which will likely become an industry standard for BIMI going forward. VMC is a digital certificate that validates the authenticity of a logo. Currently, BIMI requires a verified logo, but it does not have to be a VMC.

“CNN’s adoption of BIMI with VMC is a game-changing development for the email ecosystem and demonstrates CNN’s technical leadership,” said Seth Blank, Director of Industry Initiatives for Valimail and Chair of the AuthIndicators Working Group, the organization that developed the BIMI standard.

Multiple layers of back-end authentication may not mean anything to your customers, but the result, a logo they recognize, the absence of spoof emails and consistent, content rich emails, can help establish trust with customers who may be wary of too many emails. As BIMI and VMS become more accepted across the marketing landscape, the results could mean more successful email marketing campaigns for brands and advertisers.

Are You Looking For Ways To Optimize Email Marketing Campaigns? 

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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