Is Your App Dying from Crashes and ANRs? These Ads Are to Blame

Ad-Related ANRs Prompt Developers to Seek Tailored Quality Protection

Intrusive ads, like  unskippable interstitials and broken creatives, are sabotaging app performance, turning seamless player experiences into frustrating crash fests and frozen screens. Bad ads are a breeding ground for instability, threatening  player engagement and wreaking havoc on retention rates.

AppHarbr’s research reveals the severity and prevalence of ad-related ANR errors, prompting 14% of app developers to seek specialized ad quality protection. These errors, known to destabilize apps and disrupt user experiences, are compounded by encounters with blank or broken ads, which undermine user trust and app quality perception.

Solving ANR’s & Google Play Store Ranking

ANR errors occur when the UI main thread is blocked- on Android, the main thread is crucial for updating the user interface. When blocked, users experience frozen screens or stuttering. Google flags ANRs if an app remains unresponsive for more than 5 seconds, but many users don’t wait that long before force quitting. As a result, developers miss valuable insights into user tolerance for app delays. What if most users abandon your app after just 3 seconds of a frozen screen?  

Google Play now penalizes apps that exceed these thresholds by reducing their visibility due to quality concerns. Staying within these limits is key to avoiding damaging your app’s discoverability and reputation. 

To ensure a smooth user experience, your ANR rate should stay below 1.09% for user-perceived crash rates and 0.47% for ANR rates. For device-specific metrics, ANR rates should remain below 8% for both crash and ANR rates.

AppHarbr extends average session times by eliminating Unskippable ads which cut user sessions short abruptly, increasing the average number of impressions per session, driving revenue. 

The Nexus Between Bad Ads and ANRs

Non-skippable ads are among the most notorious offenders in the advertising landscape. These broken creatives without an exit or “X” button force users to endure interruptions without the option to bypass, essentially trapping users in an ad and preventing them from returning to the game. As a result, many players forcefully exit the app after run-ins with ANR’s. The prolonged display of resource-intensive ads can cause memory leaks or excessive memory consumption, leading to heap exhaustion, which destabilizes the app’s process and causes crashes. 

These types of ads may also introduce incompatible JavaScript or native code into the app’s runtime, triggering segmentation faults or runtime exceptions that the app is not designed to handle. By interfering with the app’s functionality or conflicting with existing code, bad ads jeopardize the integrity of your app and erode user trust.

Impact of ANR:

  • Decline in Play/App Store Rankings
  • Diminished User Experience
  • Interruptions in User Flow
  • Negative Feedback Regarding Ads

Impact of ANR on Revenue:

  • Reduced Visibility Leading to Fewer Organic Installs
  • Lower User Engagement and Retention
  • Decreased In-App Purchases
  • Damage to Brand Perception

Implementing Proactive Measures: Strategies for App Stability

To safeguard against crashes and ANRs caused by bad ads, developers can use AppHarbr’s range of proactive solutions that optimize app performance and enhance user experience.

Enforce Your Skippability Guidelines: AppHarbr lets you set app-wide standards to ensure players only see ads for a preset duration. This prevents broken creatives overstaying their welcome, which helps reduce frustration and minimizes the risk of app instability.

Shorten Average Display Times: By enforcing your skippability guidelines, AppHarbr reduces the average display time of pesky creatives. This increases the average number of impressions per session, driving higher monetization.

Enhance Retention Through a More Immersive Ad Experience: Powering ads that users find less disruptive encourages them to stay engaged with the app longer. This translates into higher lifetime value (LTV), as users are exposed to more ads over time. Ultimately, boosting revenue generation by maximizing impressions while maintaining an immersive player experience.

Enforce Rules Across All or Select Ad Network Partners: By providing publishers with the breakdown of ad policy violations by ad network, AppHarbr increases the share of voice of clean and compliant ad networks. This extends average session times and improves retention. AppHarbr supports your collaboration with reputable ad network partners that prioritize ad quality and compliance. Partnering with only trusted ad networks lets you minimize the risk of serving bad ads that compromise app stability and user experience.

Safeguard App Stability

AppHarbr improves your App Store Optimization and discoverability by enhancing ad experience, which increases organic installs and grows your number of active users.

When inundated with non-skippable ads hogging system resources, apps freeze, becoming unresponsive, leading to ANRs and frustrated users. To safeguard app integrity, publishers must embrace a relentless player-first advertising experience.


Ensure egaging experiences for engaged audiences.