Hannah Kuchler Twitter hits a new high as it takes on the chat apps

Twitter hit a new high of $52 on Tuesday as it revealed a new mobile app which puts private messaging at the centre of the user experience, challenging rivals such as Whatsapp and Snapchat. The shares are now worth double the $26 initial public offering price set just over a month ago.

The company has revamped its mobile applications in a bid to take on competition from chat apps and unveiled a new advertising tool which it said had already yielded impressive results.

After the redesign, it is much easier for users to find their one-on-one messages on the app and they can now send each other photos, a service most chat apps offer – although unlike ephemeral messaging app Snapchat, the images won’t disappear to save your modesty.

Chat apps, where people message individuals or small groups in private and usually for free, have taken time and teenagers away from many of the more established social networks such as Facebook. Facebook now has its own messaging product and Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo sharing app, is rumoured to be announcing one soon.

Twitter’s new design also makes it easier to swipe between timelines to help users find more content, a step towards making the site more accessible to a large audience. Making the world of hashtags and @ signs easier to navigate was part of Twitter’s promise to investors. Some worry that growth in the site’s audience is slowing and it will never have the same reach as a Facebook, with over 1bn users.

The company also announced last week that it will help advertisers to target people who have already visited their website and tempt them back through promoted tweets. This so-called “retargeting” is common across the web and Twitter said trials had seen “impressive results”.

Advertisers recorded substantial increases in engagement and conversion rates, and a fall in the cost of acquiring a customer. But Twitter, which has been praised by campaigners for its privacy policies, said users can chose not to see tailored ads.

While the redesign and the new advertising tool has given investors more cause for optimism, Wall Street analysts have struggled to explain exactly why the stock has risen 25 per cent in the last five days against a more or less flat market. Answers in a tweet?