With the challenges related to third-party data in digital advertising, the value of first-party targetable customer and prospect data is key — and email marketing is the perfect activation channel for this data.
However, the prevalence of phishing attacks and email fraud has highlighted the need for enhanced security measures. This is where Brand Indicators for Message Identification (“BIMI”) technology steps in, offering a robust solution to verify email senders and bolster email security.
- What is BIMI?
- How does BIMI work?
- Technical requirements of BIMI
- Benefits of BIMI technology
- Improved brand trust
- Enhanced email security
- Positive impact on email deliverability
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Is BIMI a standalone email security solution?
- Can any organisation implement BIMI?
- How does BIMI impact email performance?
What is BIMI?
BIMI is the standardised email authentication protocol that enables organisations to display their brand logos directly in the recipient’s email client. It adds an extra layer of security by authenticating the sender’s identity, thereby reducing the risk of phishing attacks. At the time of writing this BIMI standard is adopted by Google and Yahoo mailboxes, with more planned to adopt this technology in the future.
How does BIMI work?
BIMI leverages existing email authentication standards such as DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework) to verify the legitimacy of the sender. Once these authentication mechanisms are in place, BIMI allows organisations to attach their brand logo to authenticated emails.
Technical requirements of BIMI
To implement BIMI, organisations need to have DMARC and SPF configured for their domains. DMARC ensures that the sender’s domain aligns with the email’s “From” address, while SPF specifies which mail servers are authorised to send emails on behalf of the domain.
BIMI requires organisations to provide their brand logos in Scalable Vector Graphics (“SVG”) format. SVG is chosen for its scalability and adaptability, ensuring that the logo displays correctly across various devices and resolutions. Brands should also consider the layout of the logo as the BIMI mark can often appear in a cropped circle.
A crucial component of BIMI is the Verified Mark Certificate (“VMC”). This digital certificate is issued by a Certificate Authority and serves as proof of the organisation’s legitimacy. The VMC is linked to the brand’s domain and is used to sign the BIMI records, assuring the recipient that the email is genuinely from the claimed sender. Verified Mark Certificates must be provided by a recommended supplier and can cost in the region of £1,000 / $1,200, though new entrants are entering the market and this price is falling over time.
Benefits of BIMI technology
Improved brand trust
By displaying brand logos alongside authenticated emails, BIMI enhances brand visibility and fosters trust. Recipients can quickly identify legitimate emails from trusted sources, reducing the likelihood of falling victim to phishing scams.
Enhanced email security
BIMI’s integration with DMARC and SPF fortifies email security by ensuring that only authorised senders can display their logos. This minimises the risk of impersonation and helps combat phishing attacks effectively.
Positive impact on email deliverability
Emails authenticated with BIMI are more likely to pass through spam filters and reach the recipients’ inboxes. This positively influences email deliverability rates, ensuring that important communications are not inadvertently flagged as spam. Email deliverability is especially important post-February 2024 with inbox providers publishing increased detail on the scrutiny they place on bulk senders.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is BIMI a standalone email security solution?
No, BIMI is not a standalone solution. It works in conjunction with existing email authentication protocols such as DMARC and SPF to enhance sender verification and email security.
Can any organisation implement BIMI?
Yes, any organisation with a strong focus on email security and brand visibility can implement BIMI. However, it requires the configuration of DMARC, SPF, and obtaining a Verified Mark Certificate (VMC).
How does BIMI impact email performance?
BIMI positively influences email performance by improving deliverability rates and reducing the likelihood of emails being flagged as spam. It enhances the recipient’s ability to identify legitimate emails from trusted sources.
BIMI technology represents a significant leap forward in email security and brand authentication. By incorporating brand logos directly into email clients, BIMI not only enhances brand visibility but also provides recipients with a visual cue to distinguish legitimate emails from potential threats. As organisations continue to prioritise cybersecurity, the adoption of BIMI is poised to become a standard practice in safeguarding email communications.