In a new industry, it's difficult to know exactly what to keep an eye on and measure when looking at potential investments. Given this, when looking at Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) as an investment, just what exactly should investors keep an eye on?

To help answer this question, check out our new premium report on Groupon. For a taste of what is offered in the report, below is an excerpt describing what investors need to keep an eye on with Groupon.

Three Areas to Watch

  • Management
    This is Andrew Mason's first role as CEO of a billion-dollar public company, and he's continuously learning how the market reacts and what it expects from him. Hopefully he's learned from the company's accounting troubles, and brought in the right people to cure the company's financials. But, with even more questions on how Groupon counts its physical goods revenue, it might have a long way to go before earning the market's full trust.

    Additionally, the company headcount has grown at a tremendous pace. In response to a Chicago Tribune question that highlighted reports of top sales employees leaving, Mason responded that Groupon has significantly better turnover rates than a typical sales call center. This is a critical trend to watch for a company built on sales to local businesses. While a start-up organization thriving on the passion of a new industry may attract talent, a more mature organization with a struggling reputation may find it hard to keep employees.
  • Groupon Goods
    For a revenue segment that didn't exist a year prior, Groupon Goods seems to be a large driver of future growth. Unfortunately, it's difficult to separate out the segment in Groupon's financial statements because it's lumped into the "direct revenue" segment, which is made up of all products that Groupon itself takes ownership of before selling, like movie tickets and travel vouchers. However, Groupon CFO Jason Child says that Goods makes up a majority of the direct revenue segment, which amounted to $65 million in second quarter revenue, or about 13% of total revenue. This business differs from Groupon's regular deals, as Groupon itself holds the inventory. It also doesn't fall under Groupon's other push to assist local businesses in finding and keeping customers. But, if Groupon Goods keep growing, it could offer another flow of cash to keep Groupon afloat.
  • Active customers
    Groupon's marketing spending is declining fast: from 54% of revenue a year ago, to only 15% of revenue in the second quarter of 2012. However, active customer growth has also trailed off, rising only 3% in the latest quarter compared to rising 25% when 54% of revenue went to marketing:

           Source: Groupon

  • Even if Groupon can maintain its customer base, it must also keep the amount it spends up, which most recently fell 10%. These numbers will be critical if Groupon is to be a sustainable business.

More in-depth analysis available

That was a sample of from our new premium report on Groupon. The collapsed stock may offer a great buy-in opportunity, or it may be a signal to get out and stay away. Our report will help you make that decision, complete with free updates on Groupon news and analysis. For your copy, click here now.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.