Build Email Engagement and Trust with BIMI 

Travis Ratledge CS Email Architect Airship

Marketers relying heavily on email promotions must effectively engage audiences or suffer the consequences. According to Airship’s research, 79% of global consumers ignore or delete emails from brands they’ve subscribed to at least half the time or more. If this startling statistic serves as a wake-up call to enhance your email strategy, one thing you may want to do is adopt the email specification BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification). Why? There’s a 10% increase in engagement lift for BIMI vs. non-BIMI communications based on Yahoo! Mail’s BIMI pilot study. Continue reading for a description of BIMI, its benefits and implementation tips. 

What is BIMI?
Recently, Gmail, Yahoo! and Apple introduced DMARC as an email requirement for bulk senders to give them the ability to protect their domains from unauthorized use, commonly known as email spoofing. Along with Apple, those providers make up 50% or more of most senders’ lists.  When a company sets up DMARC records, BIMI becomes available as a new layer of email authentication, displaying the company’s logo next to a brand’s authenticated email messages. Without BIMI, the email address in several email clients (including Gmail) shows a capital letter icon next to it, which diminishes the brand experience and, as BIMI adoption grows, may leave you at a disadvantage to other senders and their engagement rates. 

Benefits of Enabling BIMI 
By adopting BIMI, brands increase their visibility and legitimacy in the inbox. Before getting conversions from email, customers must first open it. With BIMI, the chances of grabbing a recipient’s attention increase.  

Your audience members may receive hundreds of emails a day, so you, as a sender, compete against hundreds daily for customers’ limited time and attention. Many other companies’ emails will have compelling subject lines and preheader text like yours, but many will not display their brand logo(s) next to their authenticated messages. BIMI has not yet been widely adopted, as it was recently built atop the DMARC spec in 2021 and is optional. You not only stand to gain a leg up on other senders by implementing BIMI right now, but you’ll also future-proof your brand as BIMI sees broader adoption due to its many benefits.

BIMI and DMARC are key to increasing email engagement; they also help prevent spoofing and phishing attacks. Why? Attackers use fake display names or elements from a brand’s website to trick recipients into divulging information or taking other actions. BIMI and DMARC assure readers that an email is coming from the company claiming to have sent it. The blue checkmark in Gmail provides consumers peace of mind, especially around sensitive topics like finance and health care. 

While BIMI is only for email and does not extend to other communication outlets, it does help support omnichannel marketing. Increasing visibility and trust in the email channel can drive more engagement with emails and result in more users clicking through to the brand’s mobile app, website and more. 

How to Implement 
To get started, we recommend using the BIMI working group’s official implementation guide. The BIMI Group website has a wealth of information and answers to frequently asked questions, a helpful setup wizard and an SVG conversion tool listing. Prepare yourself for BIMI’s requirements:

  1. Your company’s SVG (scalable vector graphic) logo hosted at a publicly accessible URL
  2. A BIMI DNS record
  3. Your updated DMARC record, including a policy (p=) of either quarantine or reject
  4. A VMC (Verified Mark Certificate), issued from either Digicert and Entrust

Though the BIMI guide mentions that having a VMC is optional, note that both Apple and Gmail will only display logos if you have a VMC. 

Whether you’re a member of an IT department wanting to enhance email security or a marketer seeking better email open rates, now is a great time to implement BIMI. Airship customers, if you have any further questions, please reach out to your account team.