What Is BIMI & Why is it Essential For Email Marketing?

What is BIMI? It offers more than just a logo in an inbox. It sets standards for every email, ensuring each one is authentic.

what is bimi

Pages with verified check marks look more legitimate on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Email doesn’t have that—yet. The closest thing we have is BIMI.

BIMI requires specific standards from your brand. Once met, you get a custom email logo. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. By the end of this guide, you’ll learn about:

  • The basics of BIMI
  • If setting up BIMI is worth it
  • How BIMI works
  • Email providers that support BIMI
  • How to set up BIMI
  • How to check for BIMI

What Is BIMI?

Have you ever noticed how most emails in your inbox have the first letter of their domain or a blank avatar as their logo? Even well-established brands like Trello just have “T” as their email logo.

what is bimi

Wouldn’t it be better to have a custom logo to help you stand out? Complying with BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) gets you that logo, security, and improved deliverability.

BIMI-compliant domains signal email service providers that your emails are authenticated. It works with verification methods like DMARC, DKIM, and SPF.

However, setting up BIMI can take a lot of work. It can get technical. So, is setting it up even worth it for your brand?

Is BIMI Worth It?

Short answer?—yes! It’s not a golden standard for email marketing, but it will be soon. If you want to get an edge, setting up BIMI provides the following benefits:

Your Emails Stand Out

Emails with custom logos naturally stand out. They’re easier to find. And more importantly, it establishes you as an authority right off the bat.

Security, Authenticity, and Trust

Phishing is still prevalent. Users must be cautious when looking at an email address to ensure they’re legitimate. BIMI trains your audience to trust only verified emails with your logo.

With a logo in place, leads from cold campaigns are more likely to open your emails. Domains can also improve deliverability rates thanks to the extra layer of authenticity and security.

DMARC Compliance

You can’t be BIMI-compliant without complying with DMARC first. If you want that custom logo for your brand and domain, you must set up DMARC for your sending domains.

What Does BIMI Do?

Organizations that want to set up BIMI must create and publish a new DNS record with a URL to their logo. Email providers that support BIMI check your DMARC for a BIMI record.

The record contains a logo URL and Verified Mark Certificates (VMC). Email providers with BIMI support can display your logo for all recipients to see.

Which Email Providers Support BIMI?

Not all email providers support BIMI at the moment. However, major players have already established BIMI support. Here’s a list of email providers that support it:

  • Gmail: Available (Requires VMC)
  • Microsoft: No BIMI Support
  • Apply Mail: Coming soon to Apply Mail on iOS 16
  • Yahoo: Available (No VMC Requirement)
  • Netscape: Available (No VMC Requirement)

How to Set Up BIMI

Setting up BIMI requires DMARC compliance, creating your BIMI logo, and publishing a new DNS with a BIMI TXT record. Here’s the step-by-step guide for each requirement:

Setting Up DMARC

Before setting up DMARC, it is best practice to configure DKIM and SPF first. DKIM and SPF should be authenticating emails for 48 before you enable DMARC. Here’s our guide on how to set up all three.

You can use Google Workspace to set up DMARC. Third-party providers like Postmark can also set this up for you. Once you’ve finished setting up, you can use this tool or Instantly’s dashboard to check if DMARC is enabled.

You can’t just upload a photo and call it a day—you must create a BIMI logo image file. The BIMIGroup recommends using an SVG file designed with a square ratio uploaded to a publicly accessible HTTPS.

Consider how tiny the logo needs to be when users see it in their email inbox. To ensure the best possible design output, follow these BIMI logo best practices:

  • Design the logo with a square aspect ratio.
  • Center the image as it can be displayed as a circle or square.
  • The SVG file should have a max size of 32KB.
  • The logo should have a solid background color. Transparent can have rendering issues.

How to Create a VMC (Optional)

Some providers, like Gmail, require VMC to enable BIMI, while others, like Yahoo, don’t. If you want to cover all the bases, create a VMC. You only need two steps: trademark your brand logo and request a VCM from DigiCert or Entrust.

To register your brand logo, find an intellectual property office supported by VMC issuers. You can look up your logo on the World Intellectual Property Organization’s website to see if your logo is already actively trademarked.

Updating Your DNS

After setting up your DMARC, BIMI Logo, and VMC, the last thing you need is to publish a new DNS. The process differs depending on your DNS provider. Some require technical assistance.

However, updating your DNS text record is relatively simple. First, access your DNS. Create a new TXT record for “default._bimi subdomain.” Then, add these values:

Default._bimi.[domain] IN TXT “v=BIMI1;l=[SVG URL]; a=[PEM URL];”

[domain] is your domain name (mycompany.com)

SVG URL is where you host your publicly available trademarked logo.

PEM URL is an optional field pointing to where your VMC is hosted.

Another option is to use BIMIGroup’s BIMI generator. All you need to do is to enter your domain, SVG, and VMC certificate links.

How to Check for BIMI

To check your BIMI status, use AuthIndicator’s BIMI Inspector tool. Everything should be ready within 24 hours. If there are issues, the tool can identify what they are and how to fix them. You can even preview your logo in several scenarios, like how it looks in Dark Mode. Here’s an example with Reddit.

bimi status

Key Takeaways

BIMI sets standards for authenticated emails. Your audience is ensured that each message from you is secure and trustworthy. Email providers see this too. And your audience can see that stand-out custom logo in their inbox. To make the most out of BIMI, remember the following:

  • Set up your DMARC, SPF, and DKIM.
  • Create a square aspect ratio SPG logo that doesn’t exceed 32KB.
  • Create a VMC record (optional).
  • Update your DNS with a new BIMI text record.

With BIMI in place, your email marketing efforts get an elevated level of authenticity to help you rise above the fold. To help you scale these efforts, look no further than Instantly! Try it out for free today!