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What Is a BCC Email And How Is It Different From a CC?

Discover what the BCC field does, how it differs from CC emails, and how you can use it in your email marketing campaigns.

If you’ve ever composed an email, you’ve most likely seen the CC and BCC fields, but what exactly are they, and how do they differ?

CC and BCC are essential functions in email etiquette, and both serve different purposes. BCC stands for blind carbon copy, and it’s often used when you send an email to multiple people and want to keep addresses private and secure.

On the other hand, CC (carbon copy) is typically the default when creating an email, and recipients will be able to see the addresses of those listed under this field.

So should you use CC or BCC in your email correspondence? Below, we’ll explore the BCC meaning in more depth, highlight the differences between BCC vs. CC, teach you how to use BCC, and explain the benefits to help you determine which function is appropriate for your next email campaign.

BCC stands for blind carbon copy. When you use the BCC field in an email, it hides who received the email from the other recipients.

What is a BCC email?

A BBC email is a message that’s sent to multiple recipients, where email addresses in the BCC field are kept hidden from contacts listed in the CC.

Those in the CC field of the email are known as primary recipients, while secondary recipients are included in the BCC field. Both primary and secondary recipients will receive the exact same message, but the secondary recipients’ email addresses won’t be revealed to people listed in the CC.

As such, this helps ensure the privacy of individuals who are included in the BCC field.

BCC vs. CC email

While the primary goal of the BCC field is to make email addresses invisible to recipients, the CC function aims to ensure individuals are kept in the loop so that they’re aware of what’s going on, but their immediate response isn’t always required.

Let’s take a look at a few other key differences:

  • Visibility: The main difference between BCC and CC emails is privacy. Whereas all recipients will be able to see the addresses of other recipients in a CC email, addresses in the BCC field won’t be viewable by primary recipients.
  • Replies: When someone replies to the email, only those listed in the CC will see the entire thread and be able to respond to it.
  • Email header: One of the first things recipients will see when they open your message is the email header, which will contain the sender’s information and recipient details. If more than one recipient is added to the CC, the recipients will be able to see everyone’s contact information here. Plus, if the list is long, they'll see the entire list before the message’s contents.
  • Response: Adding someone to the CC in your email also allows you to introduce recipients to others and facilitate future communication.
BCC hides the list of email recipients while CC shows the list of recipients to all the recipients.

How to use BCC

Using the BCC field in your emails is easy and can be done in a few simple steps. If you want to take advantage of the benefits of email marketing and BCC, use the instructions above to get started.

  1. Open your preferred email client (e.g., Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, and Apple Mail).
  2. Open the email builder to begin composing your message. You can also respond to an existing email.
  3. Find the BCC field and input the addresses that will be BCC recipients. If you’re listing multiple addresses, you can separate each contact with a comma or space; you can press the ‘Enter’ key as well. Add primary recipients in the “To” line at this step.
  4. Compose your message and review it to ensure addresses are in the right field.
  5. Send the email when you’re done.

The location of the BCC address field will vary depending on the email client you’re using. While some clients will make the BCC field easy to find, this function may be more difficult to spot on others. However, every email client will have a similar process once you determine where the BCC field is located.

Adding email addresses to the BCC field can be tedious, especially when you’re planning on sending an email to a massive audience. With Mailchimp, you don’t have to worry about your contacts seeing each other’s email information since each message is delivered directly to contacts–even if they’re a part of a larger list.

When should I use BCC in my email campaigns?

One significant component of email etiquette is knowing when to use BCC in your email campaigns. After all, about 350 billion emails are exchanged every day globally, making it a prominent method of communication in personal and business environments, so knowing how to communicate effectively is vital.

Here are the most popular ways to use BCC in your email campaigns:

  • To keep addresses private. Inputting email addresses into the BCC field may be beneficial if you want to keep addresses confidential, which is especially useful when sending a campaign to multiple recipients. This can also protect the identity of your contacts. On the other hand, you may use CC in email campaigns when you want the recipients to know each other and keep them informed about what’s going on.
  • When sending an email to a mass audience. When you send a mass campaign, recipients will be able to reply to your message. However, they may accidentally hit the “Reply All” button, which will deliver their response to everyone included in the CC; using the BCC function can prevent this from happening.
  • You don’t expect a response. BCC emails are great for marketing campaigns that don’t require a response. This includes impersonal emails, such as newsletters, and messages you send to your mailing list rather than individual contacts.

Keep in mind that there are some instances where BCC usage is inappropriate and goes against email marketing best practices. This includes:

  • Digital eavesdropping. Since BCC will hide email addresses, it can be used for digital eavesdropping, which is unprofessional and can lead to compliance issues. For example, if you’re discussing legal matters, BCC-ing someone into an email with confidential information can land you into some hot water.
  • Putting coworkers in a negative light. Individuals may be unprofessional and add a manager to the BCC of an email in an effort to point out a mistake and get a coworker in trouble.
  • Work correspondence. Using BCC for work emails may come off as dishonest since they may believe the message is solely for them, limiting transparency.
  • Communicating with people who have opted out from your mailing list. If people have opted out from your mailing list, adding their email to the BCC field and sending them the campaign isn’t a good idea.
The BCC field increases security and reduces the probability that spam or a virus will spread from one recipient to the others.

Benefits of using BCC

There are several benefits to using the BCC email function, such as:

  • Minimizing the risk of viruses. By using BCC emails, you can reduce the risk of your contacts receiving a message that contains a virus. Since users don’t have access to another contact’s email information, you can effectively limit the distribution of infected correspondence.
  • Reducing the probability of spam. If you want to avoid spam filters and improve deliverability, using a BCC email can be a great idea. When you CC a large group of people, your message may be flagged as spam, so users may never receive your email. Additionally, the added privacy that BCC emails provide also prevents spammers from adding recipients’ email addresses to spam lists.
  • Ensuring anonymity. One of the most significant advantages of using the BCC function is ensuring your recipient’s email addresses remain anonymous. Concealing email addresses when sending a campaign can prevent recipients from reaching out to individuals who don’t wish to engage and want to keep their addresses private.

Take advantage of BCC emails

If you’re considering sending an email to multiple people, you’ll have to think about whether you want to add recipients to the CC or BCC field. Both CC and BCC emails are used for different purposes, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before hitting the send button.

For example, using the CC function can ensure recipients are aware of the conversation taking place, facilitate transparency, and make it easier for recipients to respond to messages. In contrast, BCC fields are valuable when sending a mass email and you want to keep addresses private. This is also beneficial for avoiding common spam filter triggers and preventing the distribution of viruses.

At Mailchimp, maintaining the privacy of your contacts is a priority. While we don’t have a BCC field in our email builder, you can rest easy knowing that your recipients won’t be able to see the other addresses in your mailing list. No matter the type of marketing email you’re making, use our comprehensive platform to create successful campaigns every time.

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