Monitor your Twitter mojo with Merlo

Merlo iOS App Statistics Display— Hard To Read on iPhone Screen

Can you tweet more effectively? Merlo, a new iOS app, might help you to do just that (but only if you can make out the tiny graphic displays-more on that below). Merlo requires iOS 7.1 or later, is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and is priced at $1.99.

The majority of Twitter users, like me, tweet about things that interest us and move on to the next thing. Businesses and organizations use Twitter differently. More and more businesses and organizations are coming to understand just how important Twitter can be, especially as a part of PR and communications. Organizations need to know a lot about the effect of their efforts online. And there are big, complex and expensive social media management tools available that can help with this gargantuan task.

The idea of having a social media analysis tool right there in the palm of your hand is intriguing. That's where Merlo comes in. Merlo is a iOS app designed to provide basic info to Twitter users about the effect of their tweets. In particular it displays information about gained and lost followers, the number of retweets and favorites, historical tweets and other basic trends.

Setup is easy, but does require a 24 hour wait for a full report display. You can also import Twitter backups, but the process is cumbersome. The app can only track a single Twitter ID.

Merlo iOS App Twitter Analysis

I'm not sure who this app is really for. Organizational users need more robust tools, tools that can handle multiple Twitter IDs and sophisticated message tracking. Casual Twitter users don't need any tracking or analysis at all. For someone like me the data and reports that Merlo provides is mildly interesting at best. The one piece of information that I did gain from the Merlo reports is that I might improve retweets by releasing the daily post on my own site at 9 AM Eastern time rather than 8 AM as I currently do. It's worth experimenting with. That alone might have been worth the $1.99 app price.

The real bone to pick with this app is its design. The designer aspires to "beautiful infographics," but what he ended up with is an app that is very hard to read. The report displays don't look too bad as screen shots as you'll see displayed here, but viewing them on a iPhone makes my aging eyes tear up. There's just too much data to display in such tiny charts. The choice of that particular shade of blue increases the difficulty in reading (Note: I did not test on an iPad).

Merlo screenshot

I also found some odd navigation in selecting "View More Stats" from the Statistics display. This selection forced a change in orientation, from portrait to landscape (the app's main displays are only portrait). These additional reports are larger and easier to read, but require you to close the view to return to the regular app display.

I was also a bit chagrined that one of the four main displays in the app was primarily taken up with pleas to follow, rate, or promote the app (along with a short tutorial on how to import Twitter backups). This section might have been better used for the oddly placed "View More Stats" display.

There was nothing about Merlo that really excited me. And the design of the app made it difficult to use and view. Merlo strives for "beautiful minimalistic design," but it ends up being very difficult to read and does not provide much info of value. Save your two bucks.