After a one-year pilot project by BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification), Gmail has officially announced that it will roll out general support for BIMI to drive the adoption of stronger sender authentication.
BIMI is an industry standard that seeks to increase the widespread adoption of email authentication in the ecosystem while also providing a way for senders to offer their customers a richer experience. Because BIMI builds on existing email authentication technologies, enforcement requires senders to publish SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to take advantage of BIMI and the new inbox experience.
What does BIMI mean for your brand?
BIMI improves visibility and engagement for brands that take the time to properly authenticate their email, make the email ecosystem more secure, and provide a richer inbox experience. If brands don’t adhere to certain standards, Gmail can use question marks or other symbols to mark them as risky.
BIMI can benefit your brand by:
- Increasing brand impressions with a trademarked logo in the inbox
- This gives you control over how your brand logo is displayed around the world
- Provide visual differentiation in the inbox to improve interaction across devices
To learn more about BIMI and how it works, read our article, What is BIMI?
Preparation for BIMI
To take advantage of the new BIMI standard and display your logo next to your messages in the inbox, you need to do more than just create a BIMI record. Most of the time, these steps are manual and a bit confusing – don’t worry, we’ll show you how to do most of it automatically.
Step 1: set up your SFP, DKIM, and DMARC records
What is SPF?
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an open standard for the authentication of e-mails. It verifies that the IP address from which a message was sent is on an approved list published by the domain owners. If a mail server with an IP address that is not on the list of approved email attempts to send email through that domain, SPF authentication will fail.
What is DKIM?
DomainKeys Identified Email (DKIM) is a validation method that enhances SPF’s protocols by using public key cryptography to authenticate individual email messages. It is designed to help ISPs detect and prevent malicious emails as emails do not have built-in authentication mechanisms. However, it is often forged to extract information from the recipient of a message.
What is DMARC?
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) is a widely accepted email authentication policy and reporting protocol that, when fully implemented, ensures that only authorized senders can send email through the domain in the From field of their email messages.
Step # 2: make sure your DMARC policy is enforced
Enforcing your DMARC policy used to require a tedious process of scanning a long list of IP addresses to identify each service sending email under your domain. Now you can work around this error-prone work with Valimail monitor– more on this below.
Step 3: Publish a BIMI record for your domain in DNS
BIMI allows you to choose the logo to be displayed. Just create one square SVG image, save it in HTTPS and put the url in your DNS-TXT record. However, in order for your logo to actually appear in the inbox, there are a few more steps to take.
Your company needs one Verified Brand Certificate (VMC) certifies that you are legally entitled to use your logo. VMCs enable companies to display their brand logo next to the “Sender” field in email clients – visible even before the message is opened. Think of it as the email equivalent of the blue tick on Twitter or the verified badge on Instagram.
Get started with BIMI
Gmail’s introduction of BIMI shows the importance of email as a means of interacting with customers. In addition, it shows that the evolution of email is far from complete – on the contrary – the user experience becomes richer, while senders are incentivized to make the channel more secure. Now that Gmail and Verizon Media support BIMI, the path for email senders is clear: authenticate and create new experiences for your recipients.
To make it easier for our customers to use BIMI, Twilio SendGrid is working with Valimail to provide you with an automated solution that guarantees DMARC enforcement. Plus, you can get started with Valimail Monitor, a free offering to get a comprehensive list of all the services emailing on your behalf so you can approve legitimate services and prevent scammers from getting into recipients’ inboxes land.
Once you are on your way to DMARC enforcement, Valimail also has an automated BIMI solution that quickly tracks the process of getting your authenticated logo in the inbox.
Sign up for free to get started Valimail monitor settle here.