BIMI for Gmail: Verified Mark Certificate (VMC)

Florian Vierke

What if you could put your logo on every email and users could see it before opening the message? BIMI, aka “Brand Indicators for Message Identification”, is making this happen! 

First of all, what is BIMI?

BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) brings customer logos for authenticated brands to consumers’ inboxes, showcasing the logos next to the email subject line. Other platforms, such as Twitter or Instagram, have long used this type of verification as a trust seal. Now BIMI is applying this to email!

BIMI not only helps to establish trust, but also increases brand visibility. While Verizon Media (with their brands “Yahoo” and “AOL”) already introduced BIMI logos more than a year ago, Gmail is currently BETA testing. Opening it up to the public is expected this summer, but there’s no official statement nor starting date.

As opposed to Verizon, Gmail demands a “Verified Mark Certificate” (a so-called “VMC”) as a requirement to display the logo in the consumer’s inbox. It is expected in the industry that Gmail will be a driver for establishing BIMI as a standard and that many other providers may follow in the future.

Mapp’s first BIMI case

There is good news for everyone waiting for their BIMI logo to be displayed on Gmail! Last week, Mapp successfully received our first client’s “Verified Mark Certificate” (VMC) for “Josef Witt GmbH”. The Witt-Gruppe is combining ten fashion brands for best agers under its roof. The group has been successfully shifting its focus from catalog sales to eCommerce activities, with 18 online stores and more than 15 million customers a year.

 

 

The process is still very new to digital marketers in the email hemisphere and there are several steps needed to receive the certificate. The process may seem familiar to you, as it bears resemblance to requesting an SSL certificate:

  1. The company (and requesting employees) must be verified
  2. Domain(s) are verified
  3. Logo / Image is validated

The verification can be done in various ways. Most commonly (and how our client did it), the certification authority will arrange a video call and require that a notary be onsite.

Witt estimates the time invested was about 10-15 hours and that the notary costs have summed up to only €60. In the trial period, the VMC itself is free of cost, but that is expected to change in the future.

Status quo:
Pre-register for a VMC

Interested clients can pre-register for a VMC to be used in coordination with their BIMI setup. This way you can be prepared once Gmail expands from the pilot phase to a consistent public feature. The pre-registration is non-binding.

Please reach out to your Mapp Account Manager with questions or to discuss your individual needs to leverage this emerging technology. Preliminary studies show that it’s beneficial for improving recipient confidence in mail sent and open rate.

Feel free to get in touch with us for the latest updates regarding BIMI and its implementation.









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