What is a BIMI record?

A BIMI (which stands for Brand Indicators for Message Identification) record is a type of DNS record that allows organizations to display their brand logo next to their authenticated emails in their receivers’ email inboxes. Using a BIMI record provides a visual indicator of legitimacy for emails sent from a particular domain. This can also help increase the open rate of your emails, leading to higher effectiveness of your sales and marketing campaigns.

When an email sender has implemented both DMARC and BIMI, mailbox providers will verify the authenticity of the sender's domain through checking the DMARC record. If authentication is successful, the recipient's email client then retrieves the sender's logo from the BIMI record and displays it alongside the email in the inbox.

How does BIMI work?

BIMI works in conjunction with DMARC, and it can’t function without a valid DMARC record in place. Just like BIMI, DMARC is an email authentication protocol that can be added to the DNS. It improves email security and deliverability and prevents unauthorized third parties from sending emails from a domain by verifying if every single email that is sent from your domain actually has the domain owner’s authorization to be sent.

When a domain owner has implemented DMARC with a policy of enforcement (p=quarantine or p=reject), mailbox providers will check incoming emails against the sender's DMARC policy. If an email passes DMARC authentication, it is considered legitimate and proceeds to the receiver’s inbox. However, if an email fails DMARC authentication, the sender's specified DMARC policy is enforced. This typically involves either quarantining the email (placing it in the recipient's spam or junk folder) or rejecting it outright.

BIMI complements DMARC by providing an additional layer of authentication and brand recognition. When you have both DMARC and BIMI implemented, mailbox providers will first verify if the sender domain has a valid DMARC record. If the email passes DMARC authentication, mailbox providers move on to the BIMI record, identifying if there is one in place. Then, if they detect a BIMI record, they will display the logo in the record alongside the email in the inbox.

How does BIMI authentication make a difference? 

BIMI authentication makes a difference by providing an additional layer of verification to your outgoing emails, for email senders, improving both email security and brand recognition.

  • Increase your trust and legitimacy: BIMI authentication works in tandem with DMARC: when an email passes DMARC authentication and has a valid BIMI record associated with it, mailbox providers will display your brand logo next to the email in the receiver's inboxes. This reinforces the legitimacy of the email, increases trust among your email subscribers, and reduces the likelihood of phishing attacks or email spoofing.

  • Boost your brand recognition and marketing efforts: By displaying your brand logo alongside authenticated emails, BIMI authentication helps your customers and email subscribers quickly identify your emails as coming from a trusted source. This not only improves brand recognition but also strengthens the association between your brand and your email communications. As a result, your email subscribers are more likely to engage with your content, leading to higher email open rates and improved overall email marketing effectiveness.

  • Protect your brand against impersonation: A valid BIMI record helps combat email impersonation by providing your email subscribers with a visual cue of your identity. Seeing a familiar brand logo next to an email reinforces the legitimacy and authenticity of your business.

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Why is BIMI important for email marketers

BIMI is important for email marketers because displaying a brand logo next to your emails can give a boost to your email engagement rates. This means that your subscribers are more likely to open your emails, engage with your content, click on your links and CTA buttons, and eventually make conversions based on your email marketing campaigns. Results from Yahoo’s initial BIMI pilot show that emails with a BIMI icon had on average 10% higher engagement rate.

BIMI also works in tandem with DMARC, and a correctly deployed DMARC record is a proven way to boost your deliverability rate. With a valid DMARC record in place, your emails are much less likely to end up in your customers' spam boxes and will instead be delivered straight to their inboxes. A high deliverability rate is good for your email health and overall reputation as a sender. Together with other basic steps, such as maintaining clean contact lists and crafting great content, using DMARC is a great way to achieve this.

How to create a BIMI record

You can enable BIMI authentication for your domain by adding a BIMI record to your domain’s DNS zone. On top of that, you need to have a valid DMARC record for BIMI to work at all. To manually install a DMARC and BIMi record, you need some basic technical knowledge about the DNS. First, you will need to set up DMARC, which you can learn more about in this article from our resource center.

After successfully setting up DMARC, you can set up the BIMI record. This process is going to look slightly different with different domain registrars and hosting providers, but in general, the steps should look like this:

  1. Create a square image of your brand logo in SVG format.

  2. Visit your domain registrar or hosting provider, log in, and go to the DNS management zone of the control panel.

  3. Select the domain you want to add the BIMI record to and choose “create record”.

  4. Add the host value (usually value._bimi).

  5. Select TXT DNS record type.

  6. Add the two required tag-value pairs that should be present on every BIMI record: v (version) and l (location). - The tag-value pair for v (version) is always v=BIMI1. - Add the full URL of your logo (including HTTPS) to l (location).

  7. Save and publish your BIMI record.

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If you can’t or don’t want to set up BIMI manually, consider a hosted DMARC solution, such as EasyDMARC. This tool provides an easy-to-use control panel that makes setting up both BIMI and DMARC a breeze. The intuitive dashboard lets you edit all settings, without any technical knowledge and without having to add or update the DMARC or BIMI record in the DNS yourself. The tool also offers many additional insights that manual DMARC doesn’t, by taking automatically generated aggregate reports and turning them into an easy-to-understand dataset and graph. This will give you valuable insights further to improve your email security and outgoing email strategies. 

Requirements to get a BIMI record 

  1. Valid DMARC record. For BIMI to work, you must have a valid DMARC record set up in your domain’s DNS zone. If you don’t have a DMARC record or if it is not set up correctly, your company logo will not show up in your receivers’s inboxes.

  2. DMARC policy set to p=quarantine or p=reject. Your BIMI logo will only show up if your DMARC policy is set to either p=quarantine or p=reject, which are two out of three possible DMARC policies. The first policy involves quarantining all non-verified emails (placing it in the recipient's spam or junk folder), while the second one rejects unverified emails outright, which means that they are not even delivered. You can read more about different DMARC policies in our in-depth article on DMARC.

  3. High-quality brand logo. Lastly, for BIMI to work, you need to have a high-quality logo file added to your BIMI record. The logo should be a square image in SVG format.

What is the relation of BIMI to DMARC? 

BIMI works alongside DMARC, but it is a separate record by itself. It is not a part of a DMARC record. When it comes to improving your email security and effectiveness in every way, DMARC is arguably the most important protocol that you should implement. DMARC strengthens your email deliverability, prevents cybercriminals from using your domain for malicious purposes and gives you deeper insights into your outgoing email flows. You can learn more about why DMARC is important in our in-depth article on DMARC.

Meanwhile, BIMI serves as a useful addition to DMARC. It strengthens your brand image by displaying your logo next to your incoming emails in your customers’s inboxes, while also providing those who receive your emails with a sense of trust in your brand. This visual indicator of trust can also help improve the open rates of your outgoing emails, boosting the effectiveness of your sales and marketing campaigns.

Can all email providers display BIMI logos? 

Currently, the following email providers support BIMI:

  • Yahoo

  • Apple Mail

  • Cloudmark by Proofpoint

  • Gmail

  • La Poste

  • Fastmail

  • Zone Webmail

As email security is a topic that is growing in importance, we expect more mailbox providers to follow suit and support BIMI in the future.

How to register your organization's BIMI record? 

You can’t quite “register” a BIMI record, but you can create one by adding it to your domain’s DNS zone. If you're looking to manually set up a DMARC and BIMI record, having a basic technical understanding of DNS is essential. You can find detailed instructions on setting up BIMI under “How to create a BIMI record” if you scroll up this article, while you can learn more about setting up DMARC in this article from our resource center.

If you don’t want to or can’t set up BIMI manually, consider using a hosted DMARC solution like EasyDMARC. This tool offers an intuitive control panel that makes it easy to set up both BIMI and DMARC without any technical knowledge. The easy-to-use dashboard allows you to edit all settings in a few clicks, and without having to change or update anything in the DNS yourself.

How to build your BIMI reputation 

Even if you have correctly set up your BIMI and DMARC records, some mailbox providers may not display your brand logo if you do not have a good reputation as a sender. However, if you run a legitimate business that is not associated with spam or fraudulent practices, this is usually not something you have to worry about. 

However, maintaining a good reputation is still important for a high email deliverability rate - and implementing DMARC and BIMI are already two important steps you can take to improve your reputation. Some other best practices to keep up a good reputation include maintaining clean contact lists, using double opt-in for new sign-ups, segmenting and personalizing your emails, and writing high-quality emails that your subscribers actually want to read. You can read more about improving your reputation in our guide on improving email deliverability.

How much does BIMI cost?

Manually adding a BIMI record to your DNS zone is free. If you want to use a hosted solution, like EasyDMARC, this comes at a fee. Prices for EasyDMARC start at just €6.49 per month. You can learn more about this solution here

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