A sign displays the Twitter logo on the front of the New York Stock Exchange (Photo: Reuters)
Twitter user numbers grew by 24% in the last quarter, helping drive its share price up to over $50 in after hours trading.

Until it announced its results for the second quarter of 2014 on Tuesday, Twitter had not been having a good year.

It has lost almost 40% of its market value and results for the first three months of the year had showed a huge slowdown in user growth.

Therefore expectations going into Tuesday's announcement were very low and made the figures released by the micro-blogging service seem all the more remarkable.

Twitter announced that it had grown its monthly active users by a huge 24% in the three months to the end of June, with 271 million people now using the service at least once a month.

While this is just a quarter of Facebook's huge user base, the significant spike in growth promoted a similarly big spike in Twitter's shares.

Having closed at $38.59 on the New York Stock exchange before the figures were announced, the shares shot up in after hours trading to over $50 a share.

In pre-market trading on Wednesday, the shares are currently up over 26% at $49.

World Cup effect

One of the reasons for the growth has been put down to the effect of the World Cup, which set numerous records for the number of people tweeting about the global football tournament.

However CEO Dick Costolo said that while the World Cup drove more engagement by users, it didn't actually contribute to the rise in user numbers.

"The expectations going in had become quite low," Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia told Reuters. "Even in the US their performance was good. For now, that will put to rest some of the concerns about US growth."

The question now however is can the company continue to build on this success - but Bhatia is unsure:

"One would still have to say that the jury is still out. You have to look maybe at what happens in the next quarter and see if they can continue to have upside on the user growth."

"We're building the biggest audience in the world"

Twitter however is bullish about the future, predicting earnings of between $330 million (£194.9m) and $340 for the current quarter, well ahead of analysts' expectations of around $323m.

The company's new chief financial officer Anthony Noto added to the positive outlook in an earnings call with analysts following the release of the results, saying he believed Twitter can build the "largest audience in the world".

The company is at pains to point out that its actual reach is much bigger than the 271 million monthly active users, claiming that millions more people visit the website or are exposed to Twitter content without being logged in to the service.

For the second quarter of 2014, Twitter reported a 124% jump in quarterly revenue to $312 million (£184.3m), beating expectations for $283.1m. It posted non-GAAP net income of $14.6m or 2 cents a share, reversing a loss of $16.4m or 12 cents a share a year earlier.