Revitalize Your Audience with a Content Refresh

When people are repeatedly exposed to the same stimuli, they stop noticing it. This is because of something called sensory gating or selective filtering – the brain actually spends quite a bit of energy not focusing on things, so we don’t become too overwhelmed by too much input and sensory data.

Imagine being at a bustling cocktail party, where the chatter and clinking glasses blend into the background as you focus on your conversation. This phenomenon is known as the cocktail party effect, where our brains filter out familiar sounds to prevent overload.

The same idea applies to signage design for wayfinding – if we become accustomed to static signs, they may go unnoticed over time. That’s why digital and interactive wayfinding solutions are so effective; the fact that they are interactive and changing ensures they capture attention consistently. Even a dynamic system like organizational digital signage can fall into a rut and start getting filtered out by an audience. That’s why it’s important to change things up from time to time, so people start paying attention again.

It’s common for organizations to settle into a routine with their digital signage content, but this can lead to decreased engagement from viewers. To combat this, it’s essential to regularly update and refresh your content strategy. Not only should you focus on the outward appearance of your messages, but also on the behind-the-scenes processes that support them.

Imagine a new team member joining soon to assist with creating and scheduling digital signage content – how can you streamline their onboarding process? By refreshing and updating your data regularly, you not only enhance the look of your displays but also ensure that they continue to attract traffic effectively. Remember, a fresh approach not only keeps things interesting for viewers but also helps drive better results for your organization.

Even if your digital signage content is still valid and important, changing how it looks can do a lot to re-engage people who may have started selectively filtering it out.

Refresh Goals

The first step is to review your communications goals. If you don’t have a formalized plan, consider performance against these basic objectives:

  • Capture the attention of the audience
  • Convey information to the audience
  • Motivate action by the audience
  • Encourage repeat viewing by the audience

Select a representative month of digital signage visuals to analyze. Ensure that it falls within the last 90 days. Evaluate what you published over one day, one week and then the entire month. This process involves refreshing your designs with new information to enhance their look and increase traffic. Conduct an audit to identify relevant keywords and posts that can be updated or removed for better engagement.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Message Design

  • Do our individual messages communicate information succinctly and stylishly?
  • Are we using good visual rules when designing our messages?
  • Do message colors, fonts and graphics all look good together?

Overall Presentation

  • Is there a visual continuity to our communications – any clear themes or identity?
  • Do messages look good together when grouped in multiple-zone layouts?
  • Is there enough variety in our messages to grab audience attention?


  • Are audiences paying regular attention to our visual communications?
  • Are they responding by taking the requested action in messages?
  • Are we measuring the success of our messages?

If you answer “no” to any of these questions, your content may need a cleanup.

To enhance the engagement and performance of your digital signage, one effective strategy is to regularly update what you’re showing with new visual themes. By refreshing backgrounds, artwork and other elements on a monthly basis, you can create a fresh look that will attract people as they pass by. We recommend identifying at least four themes that work well together, allowing you to rotate them every few months for a dynamic and engaging web presence. This process involves conducting an audit of your existing content and revamping or replacing old themes with fresh ideas to improve user engagement. 

Refresh Colors

One effective way to enhance your screens is by updating the colors you use. If you already have a set brand palette, consider refreshing it by applying the 60-30-10 rule – using three colors in ratios of 60%, 30% and 10% for your primary, secondary and accent colors, respectively. To create a new look, try switching up which color serves as the secondary or highlight, or incorporate different shades from your existing palette to complement your primary hues. This simple yet impactful strategy can help improve engagement and refresh the overall appearance of your signs.

You can quickly search to see which colors and shades go well with one another, as well as current trends in colors and patterns. We’re not talking about an entire rebranding here, just a slight shift to make your digital signage content look new again.

Also, keep in mind that some people are color blind, and there are different types of color blindness. You should factor this into your color choices as well.

Refresh Fonts

The same goes for fonts. Change which fonts you use, or maybe just adjust their sizes. All fonts have a personality and a purpose. If you have a set of approved fonts for your brand, consider refreshing them by choosing different ones for various messages. For instance, if you typically use Arial for important safety messages, try updating those designs with another sans serif font that can convey the same message effectively. To create a visually appealing design, select two complementary fonts in different colors for headlines and body text that will enhance your messages.

Refresh Text

Think about how some of your regularly scheduled messages are worded. Can you say the same thing more succinctly? Or maybe just in a different way? What’s another way to phrase the headline or the announcement? If your audience is mainly people over 40, you’ll probably word things differently than if they’re mainly under 30.

This is a great way to make old content that’s still relevant feel new again. By the time a person figures out that what they thought was a new message is really just an old one, they will have already engaged with it.

Refresh Backgrounds

A great background can reinforce what you’re trying to communicate, but one that’s too busy can make it hard to actually read and comprehend the message. One idea is to choose a group of ten to twelve backgrounds that use a common color scheme and rotate through them for message designs. Another way to vary backgrounds is to adjust images, patterns and colors depending on the season:

  • Spring – brighter colors, golden hues; images of plants and things that make people think of life and vibrancy
  • Summer – colors with blue undertones (as if seeing things through a summer haze), as well as seafoam green and slate grey; images of beaches and blue skies, people being outdoors and unencumbered
  • Autumn – Earthy colors like pumpkin and burnt orange and caramel; images of autumn leaves, kids going back to school and other activities associated with this time of year
  • Winter – clear and icy colors and images, as well as royal blue, magenta and violet; images of snow and ice and low sun, starker and bolder lines

But you can use anything as inspiration for your refresh – schools have semesters, companies have quarters, medical facilities have different things to focus on at different times of the year, and so on. Tying the look of your digital signage messages to something in the real world adds a greater sense of relevance to the audience.

Refresh Images

Identify appropriate graphics (photos, illustrations, etc.) that you can use within whatever theme you’ve selected. Artists of all kinds are constantly creating new work and uploading that online. If you have an in-house design team, see if they have time to work up some new imagery. If not, websites like Pixabay and Pexels are good resources for photos, illustrations, vectors and even short videos.

Even just changing where an image sits in the message, putting a light color filter over it (that works well with the existing message colors) or flipping it 180 degrees can be enough to get across the idea of “newness”.

Refresh Layouts

Layouts can be updated as well – the exact same messages simply organized differently on screen can make things feel different and new. If you have tended in the past to drive the eye to the upper right corner of the screens, switch the focus to the upper left. This can be the overall screen layout, or even fullscreen messages. If you always center your text, try experimenting with justifying the message to the right and left margins from time to time.

Refresh Messages

Sure, messages drop out of rotation on the screens once they expire, but some assets can still hang around in your software until someone goes in and deletes them. You may be surprised by what you find when taking a look under the hood – some organizations have hundreds of outdated artwork elements just sitting there. Creating and scheduling playlists is so easy with most software that it’s actually faster to just make a new one from scratch, rather than sift through 400 old messages. But if you aren’t using them, why keep them? They may be small files, but they actually do take up space and use some processing power.

Refresh Playlists

You can even refresh your playlists. For example, if a safety message has always been displayed at 1pm, try updating it to 2pm and observe the impact on engagement. Another effective strategy is to mix up the order of your messages. By shuffling them around, you can create a fresh and interesting experience.

Don’t forget to review and update your playlists as well. Remove outdated content that no longer serves its purpose and enhance the presentation of relevant information. This process improves user experience and engagement with your digital signage offering.

Refresh Calls to Action

Try altering your calls-to-action as well, and see if you get more responses. You could incorporate something as straightforward as a QR code that directs users to a specific webpage. By creating a dedicated page accessible only through that unique QR code, you can easily track the return on investment.

If your messages lack a call to action, consider adding one. Any message, no matter the type, can have some sort of call to action. Consider the following:

  • Welcome notices – let people access online bios about speakers or visitors
  • Event promotion – link to a webpage to for more information and details, and to get tickets
  • 401K benefits – let people see their benefits and enroll online
  • Menu boards – a discount code will certainly be used by at least some of your audience
  • Meeting announcements – give people a way to access your events calendar, so they can take it with them on their phones
  • Social media promo – encourage people to stay connected to all your social media platforms, even when they aren’t on site
  • Inventory advertisement – let people go right to your online store

Refresh Social Media and Online Presence

Your organization most likely already has a website, but that’s probably not the only place you exist online. If you’re pulling in content for your digital signs from your website, social media posts or online listings and reviews, it’s crucial to keep those updated as well so your screens aren’t inadvertently displaying old info.

If you integrate with social media accounts, you’ll probably want to go through those feeds and clean out old, outdated posts. Only keep evergreen content – information that’s always important. Do you really need to still have your Happy Thanksgiving post from five years ago on your social feed? In fact, having too many old, outdated posts can make it seem like no one is maintaining your account.

There are many apps today that can clean out content from a number of social media accounts that’s no longer relevant, but they simply remove them, so you still have access to them even though they aren’t sitting there cluttering up your feed.

You should also periodically go around to various social media accounts you use and make sure the contact information is accurate and that links work. Do this with your Bing and Google Business listings as well, and anywhere else someone might find that sort of information on the web. You want to make sure that every instance of your organization on the web is consistent, professional, properly branded and helpful to people.

If you have reviews enabled anywhere online, it’s important to always address any middling or negative reviews. Even if a negative review is five years old, you should go in and address the issues. No, the person who wrote it won’t see it, but new visitors to that portal will, and they’ll see that you are responsive and on top of things. Of course, another option is to simply disable reviews if it’s too much work.

All the efforts talked about so far have been about the audience experience. But your digital signage system also has people who work on the back end who might also welcome some improvements.

Refresh Policies

What about your policies – are they up to date? Are they too wordy or confusing? Are there items on there that no longer apply to how you’re using your digital signage? Can people access them easily? Is there anything that can be deleted, or should be added?

This is refreshing things on the backend, but that’s still important. Streamlining processes makes it easier for people to use your system, which encourages them to want to use it. As the old saying goes – happy cows make happy milk. In the same way, happy digital signage managers make happy digital signage messaging.

Refresh Accounts

Then there are user accounts. If an individual is no longer affiliated with the organization or no longer involved in managing the digital signage system, it is crucial to delete their account. Only individuals who are currently authorized and actively engaged in your digital signage operations should have access. This ensures that only relevant and up-to-date users are included, enhancing the security and efficiency of your system.

Changing passwords periodically is a smart idea to enhance the security of your system. This practice ensures that only authorized individuals have access to your valuable data and information. Experts recommend refreshing your passwords every six months, but even updating them once a year can significantly improve the overall security of your online presence. When someone with access leaves the organization, you should change passwords as well. This should be a standard part of your termination checklist. After all, you wouldn’t let someone leave while still holding on to a security card, would you?

Refresh Training

Updating your training is a smart move to stay ahead of the curve. Technology companies are constantly enhancing their products, and there’s a high likelihood that there are innovative features that can streamline your workflow. Take a proactive approach by visiting your providers’ website and social media platforms to discover the latest updates and upcoming developments in their product roadmap.

When someone new takes over your digital signage, you need to have training systems in place so they can get up to speed quickly. You want them putting out engaging, useful content to your audience, not spending weeks at a desk trying to figure out how to do that.

Refresh Software and Hardware

Then we come to the nuts and bolts of your digital signage system – the software and hardware. Make sure these have all been updated with the newest software releases, OS versions and drivers. If your hardware is getting old, make sure it still meets the minimum specs for optimal performance. Getting a support subscription from vendors can make this a very simple task.

You may also find that you now have options that you didn’t have before. Workflows might be more efficient, the CMS might now do things it couldn’t do before, hardware might be more energy efficient, and displays might come in a wider variety of sizes, opening up possibilities.

When updating your digital signage system, it’s essential to focus on a refresh rather than a complete overhaul. Stick to your brand’s design guidelines and gather data on the effectiveness of your changes. This can be done by observing what catches people’s attention as they navigate through your locations, or by conducting short questionnaires and surveys. Making data-driven updates is key to ensuring that your efforts are impactful and successful in driving traffic and engagement.