This post was originally published on the Agari website.
With competition soaring and email-based brand impersonation scams skyrocketing 11x since 2014, your most important digital marketing channel could be in serious danger—along with the revenue it generates. But an email standard called Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) offers a way to fight back.
BIMI is an emerging standard that enables brands to display their logos in email communications in a way that not only boosts visibility, but also also protects the brand from impersonation and may even help increase email conversion rates. And companies are taking advantage—BIMI adoption grew 69% in just the last three months.
The fact is, email is 40x more effective at acquiring new customers than social media and other digital channels. Seventy-two percent of consumers say they prefer email as their primary mode of communication with brands. And these days, companies generate at least $38 for every $1 spent in email, which is by far the highest ROI of any digital medium.
Choking the Irreplaceable Channel
On one hand, you have rival brands stuffing inboxes with the intent of luring away your customers. On the other, cybercriminals are angling for a piece of the action, with 6.4 billion new phishing emails sent every day—the vast majority of which purport to come from brands that recipients know and trust. In fact, recent Agari research shows that 90% of brands report having their domain names spoofed in attacks.
For consumers, the average loss from an email impersonation scam tops $500, according to the FTC. For businesses, negative publicity about brand impersonation scams can mean that your consumers will be hesitant to open the next legitimate email you do send, even when that consumer hasn’t been directly defrauded. Open rates can plummet and deliverability rates can tank along with domain authority, simply from consumer-reported spam. Through little fault of your own, a business-critical revenue stream can be crippled. Because BIMI requires the DMARC standard to implement, it helps remove this threat, while building brand recognition in the process.
The Benefits of BIMI
Introduced last March, BIMI was developed by the “Authindicator’s Working Group,” a standards group made up of industry leaders including Agari. The group is comprised of some of the same forces behind the development of the DMARC (Domain-based Message Reporting and Conformance) email authentication protocol, which stops billions of email-based brand impersonation attacks each year and is a prerequisite for BIMI implementation.
Put simply, BIMI is a standard that enables you to showcase your brand identity in marketing emails, so long as the email has been authenticated using the DMARC protocol.
For brands, this has a number of key benefits, including:
#1: Optimized Brand Presence
With BIMI, email messages are accentuated with their brand logo in a special display space controlled by the email provider—usually next to the email subject line in the recipient’s inbox and in the upper left corner of the email message itself, outside of the email body. This helps increase brand impressions and visual impact, and the logo itself is verified by both the sender and recipient’s email systems—so it can’t be faked for owned domains. A bank, for instance, could use BIMI to display its logo next to its messages, maximizing brand exposure as well as providing something profound—an assurance to recipients that the message really did come from the bank. Same for retail, healthcare, and other consumer-facing industries.
#2: Maximized Brand Protection
Adding a simple DNS record containing the BIMI information to a DMARC-protected domain ensures that a brand logo gets this star treatment, so long as the domain’s DMARC file is set to its strongest enforcement policy of p=reject, which blocks all email that fails authentication. By adding the visual indicator that BIMI provides, customers have a convenient indicator that your organization takes their security seriously—something that will increase customer trust over time. For those organizations already at a reject level with DMARC, adding BIMI seems like a no-brainer.
#3: Amplified Email Performance
BIMI may pay serious dividends. As it stands, DMARC helps boost email deliverability by ensuring email messages aren’t blocked by receiving systems on suspicions of fraud. In turn, evidence suggests that this is translating to increased success for email marketing campaigns. In fact, Forrester Research found that a composite of Agari customers saw response rates for its customer emails soar 10%, and conversion rates grow to 4% simply by implementing DMARC. By providing a visual cue to confirm a message’s authenticity, a BIMI-enabled brand logo can help bolster customer engagement, possibly fueling further increases in email marketing conversion rates.
Off to a Fast Start
BIMI has already been adopted by at least 81 leading brands or email-sending domains, according to data captured in our Q1 2019 Email Fraud & Identity Deception Trends report. With a growing number of companies investigating this new standard, look for this figure to climb in coming months. Because of its ability to help increase brand exposure and visibility even while protecting against brand impersonations, BIMI will soon be considered “must-have” for email marketers everywhere. Implementing BIMI now just might be the thing to get you ahead of the pack!
Become an industry leader by creating your own BIMI record here.